The Project Diaries: The Ghost of Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum Part III

Part III – To start from Part I, click here!

“What’s it like? When you see her, I mean?”

“Well at first, of course, it was very frightening. It would only happen when I was here alone, usually when it was late, or dark.”

I shuddered at the thought.

“On a handful of occasions our visitors have reported an odd feeling over by that wagon as well, without knowing anything of the story, mind you. Quite strange. But after a while, I suppose I ended up feeling like she probably didn’t want to do anyone any harm. She’s a little girl after all. So these days, no, I’m not frightened anymore. There’s a little doll on the step to her wagon so you should be able to spot which one is hers. The ghost hunters put it there last night to try and lure her out to play. They seemed pleased with whatever they found so hopefully we’ll know some more soon.”

I was uncharacteristically lost for words. A moment passed before Mr Boswell slapped his hands on his knees and said “Right, I’m going into the house for some tea if there’s nothing else you need? You’re more than welcome to poke around for as long and you like and take your photographs.”

“You’re…you’re leaving me here on my own?”

“Well I’ve not eaten yet and it’s getting late – it’s alright love, I trust you!” he assured, missing the sentiment of my query. “Come and say goodbye before you go!” And with that, he left me alone.

Alone. In the haunted museum. I took a breath. I still needed to gather some photographs for the project, and wasn’t about to let the knot in my stomach prevent an opportunity for research so, hesitantly,  stepped back into the museum, camera in hand.

I walked as slowly as I could, looking hard at the things that I had missed on my first run around. As the knot in my stomach continued gradually to inflate, I tried desperately to recapture my happily inquisitive initial impressions of the museum. But I could swear it felt a lot colder than it had an hour earlier. And were those creepy wind-chimes there before? It was all in my head (of course?!) and, determined not to scare myself out of valuable project investigation time, I forced myself to read the displays properly, humming Justin Bieber (sorry, World) to calm myself as I went.

In the back of my mind, I knew that I would need to take some photographs over by the haunted vardo but, as you can imagine, I was none too keen to rush over there. So instead, I decided to build myself up to it by taking photos of other slightly creepy things nearby. For example, this vaguely spooky collection of boots:

Stirring with the spirits of footsies passed

Stirring with the spirits of footsies passed

My dread threshold rising, I turned my camera on the inside of the wagon beside the haunted vardo. I closed my eyes for the flash and (thankfully) didn’t look at the resulting photograph until I was safely back in my car:

If I had seen this at the time, there is no way I’d have made it to the actual haunted vardo. This is one scary photograph, and it was only meant to be a warm up for the real thing!

Still feeling bold(ish) in my ignorance of how frightening the photograph I had just taken actually was, I figured that the sooner I collected the photos of the haunted vardo, the sooner I could run away. I steeled myself and, thinking I was ready, marched right into the corner where it sits.

It turns out I wasn’t really ready. This is the one photograph that I managed to take of the haunted wagon before losing my nerve and hurtling away to the other side of the museum with a squeak:

The doll that sits on the step of the haunted vardo

The doll that sits on the step of the haunted vardo

According to the timestamps on my camera, I managed less than ten minutes in the museum after my meeting with Mr Boswell, and you know what? I’m not ashamed. It was a terrifying experience. Additionally, all of the photos that I took after having taken that one of the ghost vardo turned out strange and shadowy:


The sceptic in me says that this probably is just the shadow of and object behind me, caused by the camera’s flash, but I don’t suppose I’ll ever know for sure…

I have since seen photographs of Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum during opening season and I have to say, it depicts a rather different experience to mine. Full of people and with all the lights on, it looks like a wonderful place for a day out, something that my initial impressions of the museum can absolutely attest to. It is full of beautiful and informative displays about the Romany way of life and holds a truly remarkable collection of the wagons and memorabilia collected over Mr Boswell’s lifetime. I only suggest that you don’t stick around if he pops out for tea.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about The Ghost of Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum. Look out for more from The Our Lincolnshire Project Diaries coming soon!

The Project Diaries: The Ghost of Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum Part II


Mr Boswell looked down at the table between us, inhaled deeply and began to explain the haunting.

“A few years back, my son and I were driving down to a fair when we saw this green bow top wagon sat in a drive off to the side of the road. I thought to myself that it’d be a wonderful addition to the museum, so I went and knocked on the house next to it, to see if it was for sale. A lady answers the door and tells me immediately that it isn’t. I was disappointed, but she said that if she ever changed her mind, she’d get in touch.

I left my contact details with her and we went on our way. To be honest, I didn’t really think about it again until one day, about a year later, I get a call from this lady. She says she thinks she’s ready to sell the wagon if I still want to buy it. Of course, I’m thrilled, but then she says to me that there’s one condition. She tells me that I have to take the little girl that comes with it.”

The haunted green-top vardo (centre)

My eyes widen. “What did you say to her?”

“Well I didn’t know what she meant! I thought that perhaps there was a doll that she’d bought with it or something, and that she didn’t want the two separated. So I agreed!”


“Anyway, I drove down to pick it up the following week and as I was pulling away I suddenly remember what she said. I ask her whether the doll is inside one of the cupboards in the wagon. She looks at me for a moment, and tells me that I’ve misunderstood. It’s not a doll that comes with the wagon but an actual little girl. A little girl who comes out to sit on the step of the wagon, but runs back inside and disappears when approached.”

Now, as mentioned I consider myself a sceptic, but if anything can creep me out it’s child-ghosts. You’ve seen Guillermo Del Toro’s El Orfonato (The Orphanage)? Don’t, it’s terrifying (except do, because it’s excellent). Anyway, at this point in Mr Boswell’s story a rare shiver frequented the length of my spine.

image source:

El Orfonato Movie Poster #SorryForTheNightmares

“So you took the wagon anyway?” I asked.

“Yes, it’s just over in the corner, beside the red kite wagon.”

It was my turn to inhale deeply. Unsure of whether or not I really wanted to know the answer to my next question, I whispered, “…Have you ever seen her?”

“Oh, a couple of times,” he says, “out of the corner of my eye…”

Read the chilling conclusion to ‘The Ghost of Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum’ in Part III.

The Project Diaries: The Ghost of Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum Part I


Ghost CoverIn a quiet corner of Clay Lake, a few minutes’ drive away from the hustle and bustle of Spalding High Street sits Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum, founded and run by Mr Boswell and his family. The museum houses what is said to be the largest public display of traditional Romany Gypsy vardos (wagons), photographs and memorabilia in the world so, naturally, I called and made an appointment to visit the museum the second I found out about it.

It was on a blustery grey Thursday that I pulled into the yard of the museum and got out to find the front doors to the building locked. I was almost an hour early for my meeting with Mr Boswell so was unsurprised when my knocking went unanswered. Undeterred in my rudeness, I went and called at the front door of the house next to the museum (I had been reliably informed that this was where Mr Boswell lived), and was received by Mrs Boswell who kindly took me through to the back of the museum where we found Mr Boswell in the middle of his previous meeting. I (finally) felt bad. Especially when Mrs Boswell accused her husband of forgetting about his meeting with me. “No, no! I’m early, I’m very early.” I bleated, guiltily. Mr Boswell graciously ignored my bad manners and said that I was welcome to have a wander around the museum whilst he finished up his current engagement.


The museum is packed with wonderful things to look at and learn about.

The Romany Museum, I discovered, is a difficult place through which to wander casually (or, indeed, quietly). There are so many vibrant and fascinating displays to see and read about that one ends up dashing from thing to thing, gasping audibly at the excitement of seeing so many beautiful objects in one place. Large vardos of every colour line the walls, making the entire space look like something from a fairy-tale. Ten minutes into my exploration, I was nosily poking my head around the inside a reconstruction of a fortune-teller’s tent (complete with mannequin dressed in traditional Romany fortune-teller’s garb) when I heard Mr Boswell calling me from the other side of the museum. As we went to sit down in the museum café, I apologised for my early arrival, and for intruding on the previous appointment.

“No, it’s fine. We’ve had lots of people coming and going recently.”

“Oh?” I enquired, “I thought you didn’t formally reopen for the new season until March?”

“We don’t!” He replied. “But we’ve had the ghost-hunters in several times over the past few weeks.”

“Ghost-hunters?!” Ever the sceptic, I stifled a chuckle.  “Don’t tell me this place is haunted?”

Mr Boswell didn’t return my light-hearted expression. The corners of his mouth turning down, I realised that he was quite serious.

I hesitated for a moment but, curiosity piqued, asked to hear more…

Read on, in The Ghost of Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum Part II.

Perform for Our Lincolnshire!

Interested in performing? Have a view on heritage? Come and join in!

Coming up: workshops in four venues across Lincolnshire as part of the ‘Our Lincolnshire’ project. A series of six weekend workshops are planned in Grantham, Louth, Pinchbeck, and Gainsborough culminating in final performances in late March and early April.

Two theatre companies, Egg Box Theatre and Flickbook Theatre, will be working with volunteers across the county to develop and perform shows informed by what people from Lincolnshire think about heritage.

If you’re interested in taking part, or coming to watch the final performances, find out more below…

What is #heritage? Lea woods, near Gainsborough

What is #heritage? Lea woods, near Gainsborough

The ‘Our Lincolnshire’ performance opportunity is open to absolutely everyone in the county, and the aim is to connect the people of Lincolnshire with their local heritage and the issues relating to heritage that matter to them.

And the best bit? It’s completely free!

You will get to explore, create and perform alongside the theatre companies in your own piece of theatre that will be shown in the final week to a live audience. All you need to take part is an interest in theatre and an open mind…


Dates: Every Saturday from Saturday 20 February – Saturday 26 March 2016, 10am-4pm

Venue: Guildhall Arts Centre, St Peter’s Hill, Grantham, NG31 6PX

To find out more or to get involved contact Phoebe at or by phone on 07796384102.

Final performance: Saturday 26 March 2016, 6.30pm


Dates: Every Sunday from Sunday 14th February – Sunday 20th March 2016, 10am-4pm

Venue: Louth Playgoers Riverhead Theatre, Victoria Road, Louth, Lincolnshire LN11 0BX

To find out more or to get involved contact Phoebe at or by phone on 07796384102.

Final performance: Sunday 20 March 2016, 4pm


Dates: Every Sunday from 21 February – 20 March 2016, 10.30am – 4pmVenue: Pinchbeck Church Hall, Rose Lane, Pinchbeck, PE11 3NR

To find out more or to get involved, visit Egg Box’s contact us page, email or call 07712231326.

Final performance: Sunday 20 March 2016, 6.30pm start, then tea, cake and interviews at 7.00-7.30pm

Dates: Every Saturday from 27 February – 2 April 2016, 10.30am-4pm

Venue: Old Nick Theatre, 31 Spring Gardens, Gainsborough, DN21 2AY

To find out more or to get involved, visit Egg Box’s contact us page, email or call 07712231326.

Final performance: Saturday 2 April, 6.30pm start, then tea, cake and interviews at 7.15-8pm

Is this #heritage? Sign reads: Ancient Wall No Ball Games

Is this #heritage?