The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, November 13, 2009

The Mystery of the Drafty Room

            In 1971, Edward Stainer of Blaydon, England decided that he needed to find out why his living room was always so cold and drafty.  He and his wife had lived in the house for twenty years.  However they were perplexed by a frigid current of air that often passed through the living room. Mr. Stainer decided to once and for all figure out where the cold air was coming from and made a horrifying discovery.

          Blaydon is a small community in North East England in the Bourough of Gateshead. For centuries the area was primarily  rural and consisted of little more than farms and cottages. Then, with the advent of the industrial age in the late 1700's, coal was discovered in the area and a number of mining operations and factories began opening in the area. As workers moved into the area, communities were established, among them the small town of Blaydon.

          Recently married in 1951, Edward Stainer and his new bride began looking for a place to live in the small community and fell in love with the old house in Blaydon. After buying the house, the couple moved in and made it home.  Sometimes though as they sat in their living room they would sometimes feel an eerie cold draft that caused them to shudder. 

             Edward caulked the window casings the explored the entire house trying to determine the source of this draft. However, no matter what he did the draft would still be there.  Neighbors suggested that the house might be haunted.  No one had ever heard of any terrible crime that had occurred in the house and as  far as any one knew no one had ever died there.  There was nothing extraordinary found historically that might have caused this particular plot of land to be haunted.  But Mrs. Stainer and others were starting to become convinced that there was an evil presence in the living room.

            As the years went by, the Stainers had two children and the family lived a comfortable life. But they continued to be vexed by the mysterious draft. The children were fearful of the living room. Sometimes when the cold draft blew past them they would run from the room screaming in terror. There were certainly malevolent spirits present.

           Not one to fall prey to superstitions,  Edward, who was on vacation, decided that once and for all he would find the source of the draft and fix the problem.  After all, they had now been there for twenty years and enough was enough.  There was no air-conditioning in the house, yet on this warm summer day a chilling breeze blew through the living room. Edward meticulously began feeling around the windows and doors, and then around the walls and toward the ceiling, but he was sure that the air was not coming from those places.  He then began crawling on the floor with hands spread wide open to see if he could detect anything.  There it was.  He felt the definite gusting of cool air coming through the wooden floor boards.

          From his toolroom he gathered a hammer and crowbar.  He hated to do it but he knew he had to pry one of the floor boards up.  With care not to damage the board, he pried up one strip of flooring. Cool air gusted upward through the opening. He still could not really see anything through the narrow opening so he pried up a second board. Cold, old musty air was filling the room even more now.  He could see nothing beneath the flooring.  He was not aware of any basement beneath the house but there definitely was some sort of space below the house.

         Retrieving a flashlight, he shone the light into the darkness and could see no bottom. He pried more boards from the floor until an ominous hole was in the middle of the room.  His light revealed dark rocky walls on the sides of the hole, but the beam of light was not strong enough to reach the bottom. Now he was afraid.  He carefully moved the furniture out of the living room into the adjoining dining room. He forbad the family from going into the room.

           As the initial shock of his discovery wore off he began to rationally deduce the meaning of what he had discovered.  One of the primary industries being coal mining he decided that this must be related to that somehow.  He contacted the National Coal Board to see if they could help.  After investigation, the experts found the hole was a 1000 foot abandoned mine shaft that had been there for two hundred years.  The builders of the house apparently decided to just build over the hole. The coal board experts said that if the hole had gotten much wider that the house could have collapsed into the hole.

          Eventually the hole was reinforced with concrete and the house made safe, but underneath was a thousand foot mineshaft.  This was something that haunted the family for years.

          This story is part of my newpaper clipping file.  It is an actual story dated August 18, 1971.  For dramatic purposes I have embellished some of the details of the story, however in essence this story is the hole truth.


  1. rLEE-b ~
    The first link will lead you to a Blog Bit that answers your question. And the second link will lead you to "up close and personal" copies of the photos mentioned in the Blog Bit:

    Thanks for your interest, Brother Lee.
    "Two fifths a week is all we ask."

    ~ Dr. Stephen (Doggtor of Alcohology)

  2. Hahaa, your last line was funny. But seriously, that's fascinating! Why would someone build a house over such a deep hole? Weird... but thanks for sharing. :-)
    Also, thanks for stopping by my blog!

  3. Very interesting piece...

    Who was dumber...the people who covered over the hole with the house?

    Or the people who took 20 years to find the hole???


    Cordially (If Not Entirely Sober!)

    High Chief Mucky Muck of

    Burb's Buck & Buntline Inn (B3)

    2nd Official Tate-LaBianca Murders Blog (TLB2)

    Home of the Bucky Award for the Best Blogging Bloggers in Webland!

  4. What a tale! I'd have trouble living over a 1,000 foot hole, that's for sure. There are odd stories in every part of the world, isn't there? Very interesting.

  5. Added your site to my favourite blogs list on B3...I'm sooo glad you got back to me 'cause I was a dolt and X'd your page before I saved your link and wasn't able to find you again...that's what happens when you operate a 'puter with a temperature...COUGH!

    Cordially, (Have Given Up Nyquil for Rum & Coke!)
    High Chief Mucky Muck of B3 & TLB2

  6. Thanks MsBurb--
    I am still overwhelmed by your site. So much happening there!

  7. Woo! Freay story. I was waiting for ghosts, but a 1000 foot mine shaft? WOW! Fancy living on that for twenty years!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  8. Wow this is a story out of a nightmare. I mean what if... Wow! Great storytelling too.

  9. I agree, waiting 20 years to find out where the cold air was coming from, though, I think I'd rather have found something other than a 1000 foot shaft! That is scary!

  10. Great Interview! Love your artwork, Ada! Awesome!