Saturday, 26 September 2009

Two Men and the Radio

2MG's marketing efforts continue apace. One-third of 2MG (Andrew Wooding) was interviewed by Rony Robinson yesterday on BBC Radio Sheffield. To hear the mammoth, in-depth interview - covering the origins of this very blog, tips on ghost hunting, as well as exclusive revelations about Larry Grayson and Cliff Richard's underpants - click here. Andrew's interview starts about 40 minutes from the end. Be warned: this file is only available to listen again till midday Friday, 2nd October.

The second third of 2MG (Mike Kazybrid) will be receiving similar treatment from Rony Robinson next month. Listen out for him from 2.20pm onwards on BBC Radio Sheffield, Friday, 23rd October. And don't forget to watch him live on the Radio Sheffield webcam here.

Negotiations are ongoing for Rony to complete the 2MG hat trick. The final third of 2MG ('a ghost') is currently checking his diary for dates, and as soon as we know when he's available we'll pass on the news of his historic appearance. (The webcam pictures should be interesting.)

In the meantime, our good friend Spike Nesmith - top radio presenter, based in the States, and co-host of The Paul and Spike Show - has given us a plug in their latest podcast. The podcast's page is here (we're mentioned about halfway down), and you can download the mp3 right here.

Good, eh? Rumours that next week we're sitting in for Steve Wright in the Afternoon are unfortunately unfounded.

2MG poster campaign

Yes, us good folks at 2MG (short for 'Two Men and a Ghost') are going into marketing in a big way. Before your very eyes is the exclusive premiere of our brand new promotional poster, soon to be nailed to trees all over Sheffield and Blu-Tacked on the walls of various public conveniences.

We spent months working on this, consulting with such advertising giants as Saatchi & Saatchi (actually, we came up with it over a packet of peanuts in the pub), and we hope you like it. As you can see, we have taken every effort in our artistic endeavours to continue walking that fine line between 'quite good' and 'complete rubbish'.

A no-prize to the first person who recognises which film our tagline is based on. I have a sick sense that's no one's going to get it...

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Yet more 'Real or surreal?' (by Mike Kazybrid)

Towards the end of my last ‘Real or surreal?’, I made mention of the household cat and wrote the following comment: ‘Like every other pet I'd ever had in that house, it had died by unseen means.’ My good friend, Wooders, is keen that I explain. So here goes!

Let's set the scene. We're looking at the life of a young lad growing up in the 1960s ... er ... I'm talking about me, who else? Where was I? Oh yes, growing up in the 1960s! Wonderful time, great days, full of a real sense of creative talent going on, not just in comics, but also in film and television.

In the midst of all this, like most kids I had my share of pets, with the odd dog (and if you'd have seen them, you'd have called them odd!), but mainly cats. Now, the general idea is that when you purchase a pet, you like to think that it's going to live with you for quite a number of years, but sadly this wasn't the case.

During a period of a few years, without fail, each and every animal never died of natural causes. Troubled by this, but not as much as the cats were, I decided to present to my mother the various important questions that were forming in my young mind, questions such as: ‘Why has Tiddles kicked the bucket?’ (Hmm, bet Tiddles wanted the answer to that one as well!)

This is where we finally get to the much awaited spooky bit. Going back many years before, when Mum was just a youngster herself, a very mean and nasty piece of work once lived in the area, by the name of Mr Topee, better known as ol' Topee to all the local kids. The said character had a real hatred of animals, more so cats and dogs.

Why? Good question. I mean, I could understand it had it been that damn dog that once bit me on the rear whilst I ran for my life. (I have to confess that I was that six-year-old boy who had fired his best super-duper water pistol at its mush!) Anyway, back to ol' Topee.

It happened this way: late one afternoon, my mum and a few other children had noticed him wandering down one of the back streets, staggering under the weight of the large sack that rested over his shoulders. But it was the sight of Topee returning from the darkened back street without the mentioned sack that brought a chill to the young onlookers.

Having waited until he was clearly out of sight, they rushed tightly together, each footstep almost walking in time with the others. The late afternoon sun didn't seem to cast its kind rays on that part of the darkened street corner. As they approached the outline of the abandoned sack, they held each other in an attempt to feel like one complete force.

Mum couldn't remember just who had made the original move, but it was the slight nudge of someone's shoe that made the sack fall over. Having remained still for what seemed like for ever, with a great sense of daring they untied the old piece of string that held the top together. At this point it revealed its terrible secret: the cold, still features of what was once a handsome German shepherd resting silently on the stone floor. Sadly, this wasn't the first and certainly not the last time that animals were to be poisoned by the hand of Mr Topee.

Phew! Okay, let's get back to the '60s. Having discovered the tale of Topee, I followed it up with my next question to Mum: ‘What's that got to do with us right now?’ I honestly didn't want the answer.

It appeared that Mr Topee died at home whilst seated in his old rocking chair. This wasn't long before his house went up for sale, and it was soon to be purchased by my gran. In short, Topee had parted this life in our home … my home! It wasn't the perfect answer, but could this be the reason why my pets died, never enjoying a full and long life in Topee's house?

That evening, I recall taking myself off to bed, feeling that something of that horrible old man remained in its structure. Just before falling asleep, it was time for one final question, the one I really shouldn't have asked: ‘Mum, you know the rocking chair that ol' Topee died in. Whatever happened to it?’

‘Oh, that? That's the one that sits in the far side of the cellar. Sleep well, son!’

Monday, 14 September 2009

What we do in our spare time (by Andrew Wooding)

Since Mike and I started 2MG a few months ago - (2MG is our new snazzy abbreviation for 'Two Men and a Ghost') - a lot of you have asked us what we do in our spare time when we're not out and about on our nocturnal excursions, methodically scouring the highways and byways of Sheffield for definite proof of ghost activity.

I say 'a lot of you'. What I mean is, a couple of you have asked us what we do in our spare time. Well, one of you. Well ... not even one. Apparently, none of you care in the slightest what we do in our spare time. But Mike's drawn this cartoon of us unwinding in between our important investigations, so I'm going to inflict it on you anyway. As you can see, it's fun fun fun at 2MG Mansions. Boy, do we know how to let it all hang out. Even Mike's cat is infected with the party spirit.

One thing I realised the last time I unwound was that I didn't completely finish the story of our first trip to Graves Park. After our utter and total failure to find any form of light to illuminate that sign in the dark, we returned downhearted to Mike's car to have a detailed and important debrief.

'I think we need to bring torches next time,' said Mike.

'Mm,' I agreed.

Our debrief over, I suddenly saw that there was something black and indistinct in the dim light of the road in the distance. What could it be? A stray dog? A fox? A starving squirrel foraging for nuts? Or something more sinister and supernatural heading straight for us?

I pointed it out to Mike, but he couldn't see it.

Doubting my eyes, I peered into the distance and spied the spectral shape again. It was weird and formless - unearthly, even - and it was still on the move.

Alarmingly, it also seemed to be moving in time with my head. If I turned slightly to the right, it also turned right. If I turned slightly to the left, it did likewise. Could it have become psychically linked with my neck muscles?

I pointed it out to Mike again, but he still couldn't see it.

'Pah! Are you blind?' I snorted, and I thrust my hand forward to point his eyes in the right direction. It was then that I noticed my finger was pointing at a small speck of muck on Mike's windscreen. It was weird and formless - unearthly, even. Except it wasn't unearthly, was it? It was just an ordinary speck of muck. Peering into the distance through Mike's windscreen, the speck had appeared blurry and far off and had moved in time with my head.

Ah well. So close and yet so far. We almost had proof this week that ghosts exist. We were 99.9% certain of it. We were that near to finally knowing for a fact that paranormal beings roam the streets of south Yorkshire at night.

Too bad it was just a piece of shit on Mike's car.

Better luck next time? Maybe ... if we remember to bring our torches.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Ghostly goings-on at Graves Park (by Andrew Wooding)

‘Not again,’ I thought when Mike suggested we meet up at Bunting Nook, especially as our previous visits had proved spectacularly fruitless. But it turns out he only meant we should rendezvous there in our cars before strolling to our latest investigation, which he promised was ‘Just down the road…’

Which road, and the precise length of Mike’s ‘just’ were appropriately vague, as I was soon to find out.

We nattered for a while in Mike’s car about this and that and t’other, and before we knew it, night was falling all around us.

Fall, it went.

‘Better get a move on,’ I suggested. ‘Where are we supposed to be heading anyway?’

‘Follow me,’ beckoned Mike, ‘and I’ll tell you a story.’

As we sauntered in the twilight, Mike regaled me with the thrilling tale of a photographer and a young woman. No, not a salacious piece of gossip, but a startling story of impossible photographs and invisible wedding crashers.

Back in 1989, the photographer in question had shot a panoramic snap across the boating lake in Graves Park. When he developed it, he noticed a young woman standing between some trees in the background, wearing a long short-sleeved dress and holding a bouquet of flowers. The photographer insisted she hadn’t been there at the time, so how had she ended up in the picture? (Cue some suitably atmospheric spooky music, maybe downloadable from iTunes. Just type in ‘suitably atmospheric spooky music’ and see what comes up.)

Around the same time, just before a wedding at Norton Parish Church, a guest took some photos of the building. Again, there was a ginormous surprise when the snaps were developed: the pictures showed quite clearly a bridesmaid in a Victorian dress. The people who’d developed the piccies (the local branch of Boots?) informed the lady who took the snaps that they’d seen that bridesmaid before – she’d appeared in photographs of other weddings at the very same church. Creepy, eh? (Now play the theme to The Twilight Zone. If you don’t have it to hand, just hum it.)

Turns out that a long, long time ago - possibly in the nineteenth century - a bride-to-be received some very bad news before her wedding. The news remains a mystery, but whatever it was - (maybe she’d been told she had to live in Bunting Nook?) - she fled from the church and was later found dead in the boating lake of Graves Park.

To add to this jolly tale, another woman committed suicide in the very same lake, again for marital reasons: her dad wouldn’t give her permission to marry her boyfriend. Could one – or both – of these women have turned up in the various purported ghost photos, both, for reasons of their own, obsessed with weddings and cameras?

As Mike told me all this, I had a moment of inspiration. Maybe we could fake a marriage ceremony at the church in Norton, entice one of these ghost brides to turn up, snap a load of piccies, then nip down to the nearest Boots for our definite photographic proof that weddings and ghoulies are often ideal bedfellows.

For some reason, Mike wasn’t happy with the idea. Maybe it was because I’d volunteered him as the pretend bride in our staged wedding. Or maybe it was because we’d just walked a mile and couldn’t see Graves Park anywhere.

‘I think I may have taken a wrong turning,’ he admitted. So we took a different turning and carried on sauntering.

‘I think I may have taken a wrong turning,’ he admitted again as – another mile later – we were still no closer to the site of our investigation. At least we were getting some exercise. Ever hopeful, we tried another turning.

Guess what happened after a further mile of walking?

‘I think I've … er … taken a wrong turning again.’ (I bet other ghost hunters don’t have this problem. Maybe the ghost brides were messing with our sense of direction.)

The only thing for it was to head back to our cars at Bunting Nook and drive to Graves Park. We still might get lost, but at least we wouldn’t get blisters on our tootsies.

Amazingly, we made it, and we marched through the open park gates in almost pitch blackness. So, where was the boating lake? We couldn’t see it anywhere. But we still walked slowly in case we accidentally stumbled across it and joined those poor women at the bottom.

Eventually, we bumped into a sign.



Maybe this would give us a clue where to go. But we couldn’t read the words in the darkness, and we didn’t have any torches. Mike lit up his mobile phone – not enough illumination, unfortunately. I lit up my iPod – even less illumination, but at least we had the option of listening to the Greatest Hits of ABBA to cheer ourselves up.

With nothing else to do, we returned downhearted to our vehicles. What an evening. First, we’d got spectacularly lost. Second, we couldn’t find our haunted boating lake, despite being in the very park it was meant to be in. And third, Mike selfishly refused to kit himself out with a wedding dress to aid our investigations.

We felt like the worst ghost-hunters ever. Or were we?

Read on, McDuff, for the imminent account of our second foray into ghostly Graves Park, this time armed with torches…