; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ruth Ellis' Ghost Believed to Haunt Buckinghamshire Churchyard

bucksfreepress - She was the last woman ever hanged in Britain and she could still be haunting a churchyard in Penn.

Or so a paranormal researcher believes.

Author and photographer Eddie Brazil, 54, has been researching for his book about haunted churches around England.

His work has led to him to the idea that the ghost of Ruth Ellis – who was executed in 1955 – may be returning to the site where she murdered her lover David Blakely.

The first tale of ghostly apparitions comes from a Penn farm worker who was killed when he fell from his horse in the 18th century.

His ghost was said to appear up in the churchyard.

In 1980s the figure of a woman in white was seen to leave the churchyard by the east gate and walk down the hill which runs by the side of the churchyard.

Hazlemere resident Eddie explained: “Nobody knows the identity of the apparition but the Crown Public House across the road - they have a woman in white.

“We found out that David Blakely, who was murdered by Ruth Ellis, is buried in Penn churchyard, – and they used to drink in the crown pub.

“She told Blakely's parents that she loved him and ghost identification is a weird business.

“We thought could it be the ghost of Ruth Ellis still pining for Blakely?”

Eddie said he is a believer in ghosts and thinks eventually science may prove their existence.

“It's my opinion that ghosts do exist. There's a theory gaining ground on the scientific table in the last few years called non-locality theory which suggests mind and brain are separate, that the mind acts through the brain, but when you have bodily death the mind or consciousness can carry on in some from.

“The analogy would be like a television or radio signal which requires the nuts and bolts of the television to convert the sounds and pictures.

“If you were to destroy the TV or radio i.e have bodily death you wouldn't destroy the signal or consciousness.”

Eddie, who had his first paranormal experience at age of 10 in London, wants to hear from Buckinghamshire residents about their own sightings and stories – not just about churches – but all paranormal activity.

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Ruth Ellis' Crime and Execution

Ruth Ellis, aged 28, was the last lady executed in the UK. Her trial at The Old Bailey and execution at London's Holloway Prison on 13 July 1955 aroused great public interest and coverage by the newspapers of the day. This contrasted with the lack of media interest in the case of two other ladies executed before Ruth Ellis: Louisa Merrifield in 1953 and Styllou Chrisofi in 1954.

Ruth Ellis was part of the Soho nightclub scene of 1950s London. She was a hostess at a night club. During this time she met and had a stormy love affair with a car racing driver called David Blakely. However, Blakely had been pointedly avoid Ellis and she had continued affairs with several other men.

On Good Friday 1955 Ruth Ellis caused a disturbance outside the Hampstead flat where David Blakely was staying with some friends. Blakley refused to come out and he did not answer several phone calls that Ruth Ellis made to the flat. Ruth Ellis eventually left the scene when Blakely telephoned the police from the flat.

On Easter Sunder, 2 days later, at 9pm, Ruth Ellis saw David Blakely through a window of the Magdala Tavern, a pub located on the edge of Hampstead Heath. However, Ellis did not enter the pub and she waited outside.

Blakely left the pub with his friends at 9.20pm, ignoring Ruth Ellis who he noticed was waiting outside. Ellis took out a loaded revolver from her handbag and fired a shot at Blakely. This first shot missed Blakely, but ricocheted off a wall, injuring a passer-by. Ellis's fired a second shot and this hit David Blakely and he fell face down on the roadside. Ruth Ellis then walked over to where Blakely laid and fired four bullets into Blakely, emptying the revolver. An off duty policeman came from the pub and took the revolver from Ellis, who offered no resistance to the police officer. David Blakely was dead on arrival at hospital.

A newspaper paid for two defending barristers at her subsequent trial for Blakely's murder at the Old Bailey in London. Ellis seemed not concerned that she was on trial for her life, and was asked the following question by the prosecution at her trial:

Prosecutor: "Mrs Ellis, when you fired that revolver at close range into the body of David Blakely, what did you intend to do?"

Ellis: "It is obvious that when I shot him I intended to kill him."

Ruth Ellis was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging. The newspapers clamored for a reprieve, but the Home Secretary announced on 11 July that the execution would go ahead as planned. Two days later, Ruth Ellis was hanged at Holloway Prison in London.

After her execution, her Post-Mortem was carried out by Professor Keith Simpson at Holloway Prison. She was then buried within the prison's graveyard.

In 1971, her remains were exhumed and re-buried at St. Mary's Church in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

After every execution, a Post-Mortem examination was performed on the executed criminal's body. The main purpose of the examination was to find out whether the execution had been carried out correctly, and the prisoner had not been asphyxiated by a bungled hanging. The pathologist report would be presented to the coroner's inquest, which would normally return a decision that the deceased had died as a consequence of judicial hanging.

Normally, the reports are not published but the Post-Mortem Examination performed on Ruth Ellis was published. The Post-Mortem examination on Ruth Ellis was carried out on 13 July 1955 at London's Holloway Prison.

In this case, the Post-Mortem was conducted by the pathologist Professor Keith Simpson in the morning just after her execution. The inquest was held later in the afternoon, and Ruth Ellis was buried within the prison grounds. She was later exhumed and re-buried in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

Ruth Ellis' Ghost Believed to Haunt Buckinghamshire Churchyard