Nicola Kirk: Author and Collector of Paranormal Stories and Other Strange Encounters

Posts tagged ‘murder’


I’m delighted to announce that TERMINAL JUSTICE is now available on Amazon in both Kindle (for those techno-wizards amongst you) and paperback versions (for the traditionalists).  With special thanks to my mate, Kevin J. Smith, for the superb artwork!

If you’re fortunate enough to own a Kindle, or have the Kindle app on your phone (free to download from iTunes), you will be able to download a sample of the book (and indeed samples of all my other books if you so wish!) free of charge so you can have a nose first before deciding whether you want to purchase the whole thing.

I hope you enjoy the latest offering …

Cover Artwork ©K.J. Smith 2012

Life is generally a fairly quiet affair for writer and white witch, Lena Rowan.  Okay, so she has a major Brownie infestation at home, a neighbour who thinks she is the spawn of Satan and she occasionally suffers from writer’s block but things could be worse…

When Lena arrives home one afternoon and finds a message on her answer machine from a terrified stranger who begs her for help, she suspects her peace and quiet may be about to suffer a devastating hit.

Thrown into a world of undead murderers, zombies and drug lords, Lena soon discovers that there really is no rest for the wicked…




Be careful what you wish for – you never know what might be listening.

Click for a free copy of Helping Hands.

Format: PDF file


©Nicola Kirk and 2010


When Good Grandmas Go Bad: telling stories to your grandchildren has never been so much fun…

Click here for a free copy of: Storytime

Format: PDF file


©Nicola Kirk and 2010


When I studied for my A-levels, I decided, in my questionable wisdom, to take Theatre Studies as one of my subjects.  Well, I didn’t exactly end up making a career on stage, but I did enjoy it immensely and although Anton Chekov’s “The Seagull” left my entirely female A-level class a little lost and bewildered (really, what was that stuffed seagull thing all about?) it didn’t stop me from writing a few things myself.

To The Bride and Doom is a Victorian black comedy in two Acts.

Elizabeth Bennett is the daughter of a well-to-do family who find themselves a little down on their luck.  Her parents believe the only way out of their financial predicament is to marry Elizabeth off to someone rich and stupid.  This is something easier said than done, especially when Elizabeth comes up with some inventive, if not slightly psychopathic, ways of ditching the various spouses thrust upon her.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the script or perhaps you are part of a theatre group and would like to arrange a performance of To The Bride And Doom, please email me at

SAMPLE SCENE: To The Bride And Doom – PDF – Sample Scene

Pages: 49

First published: 2010

Language: English

Format: PDF file (hard copies can be arranged upon request)

Preferred method of payment: Paypal

Price: £5.50 (excluding postage if hard copies are required)

To place an order email:


©Nicola Kirk and 2010


The Rock – Alcatraz

The Americans have the right idea when it comes to prisons.  Build a prison on a rock in the middle of the sea and leave the buggers there to rot.  Why do we not do this sort of thing, too?

Alcatraz Island (originally named La Isla de los Alcatraces – ‘the Island of the Pelicans’), sits out in the middle of San Francisco Bay.  It’s a long swim to shore (1.5 miles) and the sea is rather hazardous and unforgiving, so once you’re out on ‘The Rock’, you’re there until you decide to behave yourself.

Alcatraz has housed prisoners from as far back as 1861.  The main prison block was completed in 1912 and has held famous inmates such as Robert Stroud (known as the Bird Man of Alcatraz, even though he wasn’t actually allowed to keep any birds), Al Capone and George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly.  That’s quite some guest list.

Life Behind Bars

Now, of course, the prison is no longer in use by the living, but the dead are apparently keen to stay in residence.

Apart from the fifteen inmates who died of natural causes within the prison’s maximum security walls, eight people were murdered at Alcatraz by other inmates and five others committed suicide.  Although the prison is brimming with ghost stories, here are a few of my favourites to whet your appetite:

Al Capone was sent to Alcatraz in 1934 for income tax evasion.  He became ill with neurosyphilis which had apparently been left untreated.  His mental health began to suffer and he became too frightened to go out and mix with the other inmates during recreational periods, so he was allowed to sit in the shower room and learn to play the banjo.  Even though the prison is now disused, people still report hearing the sound of a banjo being played when they are near the shower room.

Al Capone: Still practising the banjo?

Cell 14D is what is known as a ‘hole’ cell.  Unruly prisoners were kept in ‘hole’ cells for up to 19 days at a time in complete isolation.  A pretty miserable existence, I’m sure you will agree.  Still, ‘hole’ cells were one up from ‘strip’ cells where an inmate had to survive in the dark with no clothing and meagre food rations.

Cell 14D has a curious legend attached to it.  It is alleged that in the 1940’s a prisoner was thrown into the cell for some misdemeanour, but as soon as the door was closed he immediately began to scream the place down, shouting that there was some kind of creature in the cell with him with glowing eyes and it was trying to kill him.  The screaming carried on throughout the night but the next morning the inmate was… strangely silent.  When the guards checked on him, he was found dead.  He had been strangled.  Now, this in itself is rather eerie (unless you assume one of the guards had had enough of the prisoner screeching all night and decided to silence him) but the next morning when the guards carried out a head count the guards found they had one too many prisoners.  A few of the guards said they had seen the ghost of the screaming man in amongst the other inmates but the phantom quickly vanished.

Hell Hole:  a solitary confinement cell

Considering all the terrible things that must have happened at Alcatraz over the years, it is perhaps not surprising that the sounds of crying and moaning are often heard and cell doors can sometimes be heard clanging shut on their own.  Guards and police officers have also reported seeing and hearing strange apparitions while they guard the deserted prison.

If you are lucky enough to go on a tour of Alcatraz, you will be walking in the steps of its many former prisoners, some of whom were fortunate to leave after they finished their time and some of whom… never managed to leave at all.


©Nicola Kirk and 2010







He’s a dandy highwayman!

Richard (Dick) Turpin (1705 – 7th April 1739) has strong connections to the area I live in.  Many people think of Dick Turpin and conjure up images of an absolute studmuffin on a huge horse rampaging through the countryside, mugging the rich and leaving hoards of swooning women in his wake.  Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the reality is very different to the legend.

Dick’s E-fit:

Don’t bother locking up your daughters after all

Dick Turpin was a cruel and ruthless fiend with a heavily pockmarked face (so give thy heaving bosoms a rest, ladies, he wasn’t much of a looker) who joined forces with the Essex Gang (also known as the Gregory Gang) in the early 1730s and thought nothing of torturing little old ladies to get their cash out of them.  The list of crimes he committed ran from highway robbery to horse stealing to murder.  There wasn’t much he hadn’t had a go at by the time he was dragged to the Tyburn in York for execution in April 1739.   As York lacked a permanent hangman, a pardoned highway man by the name of Thomas Hadfield took the role instead; there really is no honour amongst thieves.  An entry in The Gentleman’s Magazine dated 7th April 1739 said:

“Turpin behaved in an undaunted manner; as he mounted the ladder, feeling his right leg tremble, he spoke a few words to the topsman, then threw himself off, and expir’d in five minutes.”

Five minutes?!  That’s a long time to be dangling around, kicking your heels (quite literally).

Dick’s grave – Fishergate

Turpin’s corpse was buried in St George’s Church graveyard, Fishergate, but his ghost refuses to sleep quietly.  Turpin apparently had a whale of a time winding up the Most Haunted crew in December 2003 when he led them on a wild goose chase around Epping Forest until they had to be rescued by the forest ranger (shouldn’t laugh…).

Despite being hanged in York, Turpin seems happier lurking in and around Epping Forest and people have reported hearing disembodied hoof beats, believed to be Turpin’s horse, Black Bess, and complain of the strange sensation of being watched as they ride or walk through the area.  Of course, if they are being watched it might not be Turpin at all – many people have met their end within the forest over the centuries and it is also a popular place for murderers to dispose of bodies, so chances are there will be more than one pair of eyes watching your every move if you linger too long.

Keeping it local, Turpin’s ghost is also said to thunder down Traps Hill, Loughton (Essex), perhaps revisiting the scene of one of his infamous raids which took place on 1st February 1735.  He burst into the home of Widow Shelley’s house with the rest of the Gregory Gang and proceeded to torture £700 out of the old woman (apparently this is about £60,000 in today’s money, if Google serves me correctly).  Being a stout old bird, Widow Shelley apparently refused to give up the location of her valuables until Turpin threatened to lay her across the fire.  I guess that would be enough to make anyone change their mind.

Smokin’:  Widow Shelley gets a roasting

Turpin also seems to have had a grudge against the clergy and in a little hamlet called Stubbings (Berkshire) he peppered the window shutters of the vicarage with lead shot.  It would seem he wasn’t too pleased with the end results because his ghost still lingers in the area (perhaps in the hope he might get his hands on the vicar, too).


©Nicola Kirk and 2010


Wikipedia – Dick Turpin

Canadian Forum

Wikipedia – Most Haunted Live

Berkshire History

Absolute Astronomy

National Archives

No Rest For The Wicked – Graveyard Guardians

Many people are frightened of graveyards, it’s only natural, but is it the sight of all those headstones and tombs that makes you uneasy or… is there something else watching you?

It might take a bit of time but if you can hunt down the first grave in a cemetery you might just get to meet the Graveyard Guardian.  The legend is that the spirit of the first person laid to rest in a graveyard  remains on the earthly plane to keep an eye on comings and goings and keep the other graveyard residents safe.

Unfortunately, in times of old, some villagers were a little too impatient to wait for someone to die of natural causes and fill the role.  According to an article by Marq English in issue 45 of Paranormal Magazine (p74), ‘it is believed that the early inhabitants of Cheam (in Surrey) butchered the village simpleton by cutting his throat and allowing the blood to spill into the graveyard so his spirit would be its first Guardian’.  So if we learn nothing else today, don’t visit Cheam when they’re opening a new graveyard.

According to there is a legend that people used to be buried alive in new graveyards to create a guardian.  These guardians were known as ankou.

The ankou is also mentioned by Frenchman Anatole Le Braz, who was a collector and translator of Breton (Brittany) folklore in the 19th Century.  In his best-seller, “The Legend of Death”, Anatole writes:

The Ankou is the henchman of the Death (oberour ar maro). The last dead of the year, in each parish, becomes the Ankou of this parish for all the following year. When it has been, in a year, more death than usual, one says about the Ankou:

War ma fé, heman zo eun Anko drouk.

“On my faith, this one is a nasty Ankou.”

The Black Shuck, a strange creature whom I have written about previously, occasionally also takes on the role of graveyard guardian, although whether the shuck is the spirit of the first graveyard resident or a completely different paranormal being in its own right is unclear:

One notable story from Australia perhaps provides evidence of the persistence of the black dog legend beyond its native Europe. In Picton, NSW, there is a wonderful historical graveyard attached to the beautiful church of St Mark. Within the churchyard, the ghostly form of an enormous dog has been seen – even on one occasion chasing people out of the graveyard.”

So if you do decide to visit a graveyard, you’d better behave yourself.  You don’t know who, or what, might be watching.


©Nicola Kirk and 2010

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