by David R. Cowan

The tiny, tightly packed City Prices store in Church Street, Street, Crieff, Perthshire, has an unwelcome and ghostly resident.

The proprietor, John Randalls, working late one night recently to restock his shop, heard a loud cough from close behind him. Knowing perfectly well that he was alone in the shop, he nevertheless turned round to check if anyone was there. “The hairs on my neck bristled as I looked around - the room was empty”, he said later.For some time he has been puzzled about other unusual occurrences: from inside the shop. He and his partner, Liz Cramb and staff, sometimes hear the heavy front door open noisily, and upon checking, find it locked tightly shut. Occasionally it swings wide open, then closes on its own.

Clothes and other items are sometimes found in disarray when he enters early in the morning, and shelves previously stacked neatly with goods, especially at one side of the shop have obviously been disturbed. Some items are obviously missing, typical of poltergeist behaviour. Occasionally, he can hear the fan in the vacant shop next door running noisily, and, late at night, voices and bangs from the empty flat upstairs. When he goes outside, however, he finds that there are no lights or signs of occupation.

Liz, one day at the rear of the shop, felt a hand brush lightly on her shoulder and was surprised to find no-one near her. The proprietor of the camera shop next door, Hugh Mailer, has also heard noises from the flat above when he suspects the premises are empty. Much more interesting is the figure of a person walking in the restricted floor space which Liz has occasionally seen on the video camera. The presence, according to the staff, seems to be perfectly friendly if perhaps a little mischievous.

If there is one place in Crieff where I would expect to find paranormal phenomena it is just here. Adjoining  the back room of City Prices is the old burial-ground belonging to the Parish Church.This may well be a factor, especially as the burial-ground has been recently landscaped with heavy machinery.

In a perfectly straight line , a very powerful ley line also runs through the shop from Braefordie standing stone near Comrie, up Crieff High Street, through the town clock and stocks, then the Parish burial-ground to another standing stone at Aberuthven, and yet another further on at Dunning.Also to be taken into consideration is an underground stream, the Alligan burn, which passes beneath this shop.

I have often found that underground streams and geological fissures encourage unusual phenomena of this sort. An underground stream emits a wave of energy vertically to the surface, and another two at 45 degrees, one on each side, giving in effect, three lines of earth energy on the surface. The stream also emits spirals or vortices vertically upwards, the centre of the spiral being directly above the stream. Its width is determined by the two outer lines.

Apart from poltergeist activity, both the spirals and waves can cause ill-health to the occupants above, especially if they happen to be sleeping in such an energy. I call them black spirals. They may also act as very primitive radios, causing a noise, like a door closing, for instance, to be relayed to a different area, to upset the occupiers of a house further down the line of spirals.

One Crieff lady, for instance, complained of the noise of a Christmas party in her house when she was alone. She could hear the sound quite plainly in one room, but on investigation, that room, all the other rooms and outside the house were quiet.

At City Prices I found a black spiral of earth energy close to the wall where most of the poltergeist activity takes place, and the connecting line between this spiral and its neighbour passes through the spot where John heard the disembodied cough. Also at the centre of the black spiral the staff say there is a cold spot, which is a typical effect of black spirals from underground streams.

Another local lady told me of another type of phenomenon which took place a little further down from City Prices, in Bank Street. She had been walking along this road with her husband when she was suddenly enveloped in what she described as a black cloud. She thought she was there for some time, 10 minutes, perhaps, trying to struggle free, and when she eventually managed to get out of it, found her husband still walking beside her. Terrified, she asked him what had happened, only to be told that he had noticed nothing untoward at all.

This was possibly an effect on the human brain caused by electrical and magnetic fields above the Alligan burn, which can cause what can best be called a waking dream, or nightmare. Another effect of these energies is to cause a muscular spasm, giving the person the impression that he or she has been touched, even pushed, when no-one is around.

John Sharkey, an archaeologist, for instance, sitting alone inside a burial chamber on North Uist, watching a geiger counter, was violently thrown across the chamber by a vicious kick in the kidneys. He wrote: "I was lucky to escape with minor injuries from the large protruding stones, for the sudden nervous shock and a sore back for days afterwards were more than sufficient to repay me for my morbid curiosity".

A further factor in this poltergeist disturbance is the fact that another subterranean stream flows down, roughly 50 yards to the west of the Alligan burn, which also seems to be partly responsible for this phenomenon.

Anne Silk (see her article later in this issue on “Earth Energies and the Human Brain – Wonders Seen and Unseen” Ed) reminded me that underground streams and pipes bounce natural and artificial waves of energy down them (wave guides). Sinking a well into such an underground stream channels that energy to the surface

When I used my divining rods to check the capping stone of a well sunk into this stream (Tibbertreoch well), I could easily find a 1 metre wide stream of unhealthy energy waves coming from it. It headed eastwards, through the GPO courtyard, and into the City Prices shop a short distance away. In my experience, this type of energy seeks weak points in buildings. Here it passed through the door which swung open on its own, through the shop, into the vacant Indian take-away next door, and out of the rear via a ventilation duct (“the fan could occasionally be heard to be working, even though the shop has had its electricity supply cut off”). It then went on out into the old graveyard, spiralling down into an old grave marked with a head stone.It is almost as if the energy emitted from this well is forced to the surface, travels 50 yards above ground, and into the shop, somehow compressing the spring in the door to open it and also operating the fan before being attracted back underground, into the Alligan burn, as a circuit of energy. It may also travel in the opposite direction, i.e. from the Alligan burn, through the old grave, above ground and into the well.

This reminds me of a very powerful and evil poltergeist outbreak in the town just a few yards away from a re-opened well a few years ago.

A previous owner of what is now the City Prices shop told me that when she had her hairdressers shop there some years ago, she suffered the same phenomena, but preferred to keep quiet about it until reading the story in the local paper. The door, which is the same as the one in modern use, would swing wide open on its own. Towels in a basket were in disarray when she opened the shop in the morning. Tea bags and steel wool were jammed down the sink.  Items such as bottles of dye and in one case, £100 worth of television stamps, disappeared and reappeared a few days later in the most obvious of places.

Another previous owner reported that his sister as a child would speak to a "white lady". He attributed this to a childhood fantasy, but his father also insisted that there was a ghostly presence in the back of the shop.

About 5 years ago I was asked to investigate a very mild poltergeist outbreak in the High Street a short distance from this shop (voices, and noises of drawers opening and shutting in an empty kitchen).  I found that this particular flat was also near the stream which feeds the Tibbermore well. It seems that such subterranean streams have energies which are very strange indeed.

© 2000 David R. Cowan & BSD EEG

.For more information on Earth Energies and ill-health, read David’s book “Safe As Houses“ (Gateway Publishers) and for ley lines and paranormal phenomena, his joint book with Anne Silk, “Ancient Energies of the Earth”,  (Harper Collins).     David has a website at <>