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 Royal Findhorn Yacht Club in Moray investigates rum affair of ghostly guests

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PostSubject: Royal Findhorn Yacht Club in Moray investigates rum affair of ghostly guests   Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:59 pm

Royal Findhorn Yacht Club in Moray investigates rum affair of ghostly guests

As a barman in a yachting club, Ray Shepherd-Smith would no doubt have seen the occasional customer three sheets to the wind, and many others with the wild look of the sea about them.

Never before, however, had he seen drinkers who may have come from another world.

An apparent paranormal event is being investigated at the Royal Findhorn Yacht Club in Moray, in which Mr Shepherd-Smith poured drinks for two elderly men who appeared as if out of nowhere on a dark night and then disappeared into thin air.

They told him they were life members who were coming for a last look around.


Members at the prestigious club, which has a reputation for being haunted, checked on the CCTV that monitors the building, but there was no footage of anyone entering or leaving.

The clubhouse, a grand three-story stone building, was once the home of James Chadwick, who founded the club in Findhorn village in 1929. His ghost is said to still inhabit the building and local yachties are now wondering if he has found someone to keep him company.

The visitors appeared shortly before 7pm one evening last week, when Mr Shepherd-Smith, 52, who lives in the flat above the club with his wife Claire, was getting ready to open up the bar.

He explained: “I was in the kitchen getting some lemons and didn’t hear anyone come in but two elderly gentlemen in coats were standing at the bar when I came through.

“I asked if they were members and they said they were life members. The smaller man asked for a rum and the other chap wanted a whisky with ice in it.”

Mr Shepherd-Smith added: “I had never seen them before and as I was preparing their drinks the taller chap said they had heard the club was closing and had come down for a last look.

“They went towards the bar door as though they were going for a look round. I rang up their drinks on the till but when I went to check where they were, the rest of the place was in darkness.

“I even went upstairs to check in the street but there was nobody there. It was very surreal and all very odd.”
The ashen-faced barman searched the entire premises for the elderly pair — who did not pay for their drinks, nor consume them — but could find no trace of them.

Martin Slack, the club commodore, and Gary Rendall, another official, arrived later and checked the CCTV on the premises, which confirmed that no one had entered or left the building that night.

The CCTV tape, however showed Mr Shepherd-Smith serving up the two drinks and speaking to someone off camera. He is then seen searching for his “customers”.

Martin Slack said: “You can see Ray on camera looking for these guys and he is clearly agitated. He is pretty nervous about being in the place on his own now.

“I think there is something to this. A local medium has been here before and said there is a presence in the building.”

Several yachtsmen have claimed to have seen the pipe-smoking ghost of James Chadwick, their first commodore. Others claim to have smelled pipe smoke when no smokers were around.

Mr Shepherd-Smith said: “Martin reckons the only life members in the club I haven’t met are all dead — well I’ve met two of them as well now.

“I have come across ghostly goings on before while working behind a bar but this one tops the lot. The worst thing this time is that they left without paying.”

Findhorn was originally a fishing port that became a hub for pleasure sailing after the First World War. In the late Fifties and Sixties the club flourished and it gained royal status in 1971.

Ghostly sailors are a fairly common phenomenon in the paranormal canon. Possibly the best tale concerns the Shipwrights Arms, in Faversham, Kent, which is said to be haunted by the 19th-century captain of a ship that sank on a cold winter night.

The captain managed to make it to land, clambering on to the mud flats and dragging himself up to the lights of the inn. But the landlord refused to open the door, and the sailor’s body was found on the doorstep the next morning.

Many patrons and staff claim to have witnessed the ghost of a thickset sailor, wearing a large thick coat, peaked hat and with angry glaring eyes. Preceding the apparition is usually the overwhelming smell of rum, tar and tobacco.

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