Saturday, November 5, 2016

Ghosts of Westminster Abbey

Buffalo Courier Express

Wednesday, Feb 1, 1967

Page 16

In Hall of Kings

Abbey's Ghosts haunt
TV Producer and Crew

By Jack Gaver

ghosts of London's Westminster
Abbey have made a believer
out of television producer Harry

"1 have become rather fond of
my ghosts," Rasky said. "They
are playful and harmless. They
merely want you to know they
are around. They are distinguished
and art lovers, creative
and appreciative, but are annoyed
at being disturbed. These
ghosts are my friends—I hope."
Rasky met the ghosts while
filming at Westminster Abbey
for "Hall of Kings," a one-hour
ABC-TV documentary - drama
which will be colorcast from 10
to 11 p.m. Feb. 14.

"Until I went to work on 'Hall
of Kings,' I was, like you, skeptical,"
the producer said. "But
six weeks of constant night filming
inside the Abbey changed my
attitude completely. The ghosts
of Westminster called several
times, left their shadowed markings
on my film, and generally
stimulated our night vigils."
Rasky recalled the first time
he and his 20-man crew encountered
the Abbey ghosts.

"James Mason, the star and
host of the special, was standing
at the foot of Robert Browning's
grave in the famous poets' corner."
Rasky related.

"He had conjured up the spirit
of Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
acted by Ireland's superb
Siobhan McKenna, and they were
facing each other at opposite
ends of the tomb. Siobhan was
delivering her deeply felt lines,
How do I love thee.' The crew
was intense and involved. Tears
were in her eyes.

"Suddenly, there was a creaking
sound. Soundman Adrian
Klein looked pained and puzzled.
I shouted for silence, but none
of us had moved.

"Then we noticed the giant
oak door behind us, weighing
about half a ton and leading to
the ancient St. Faith's Chapel.
It had opened wide. We had not
touched it. There was no draft.
The door takes the strength of
a young man to open.

"On two other occasions, at
about 3 a.m., our ghosts' visiting
hour, the door opened mysteriously
again. One of our
group once saw a flash of brilliant
light in the room that was
in total darkness. You explain
it; I cannot."

Attempts to film a magnificent
marble figure of death in the Abbey 
also provided an experience.
"Each time we would pan on
it," Rasky said, "the film fogged.
One Abbey official later
told me: 'Oh, we've been trying
to photograph it for years. The
film always ghosts or fog's. No
technician has yet been able to
explain this.

"And each time Jim Godfrey,
our cameraman, panned past
another marble figure, a green
mist fogged the frame on film.
It never happened on any other
figure, only on this one of Lady
Elizabeth Nightingale. Apparent-
ly, she did not care to pose.

"I know I can never walk In
Westminster Abbey again after
dark among the graves of the
great and feel alone.

Article used with the permission of:

Buffalo State College Archives
 and Special Collections
E. H. Butler Library #135
Buffalo State College
          1300 Elmwood Ave.   
   Buffalo,  NY 14222-1095

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