British Pathé uncovers football pools seance in Stafford
BBC Four is currently showing a series called The Story of British Pathé which chronicles the history of the famous newsreel makers.
Long before 24-hour news channels started, British Pathé brought the historic events of the 20th Century to local cinemas.
Reams of Pathé newsreels, including clips from Staffordshire, are now available online.
There is the usual footage of royal visits to the county but also a number of quirky features including early shots of the PG Tips chimps and a coalmen's sack race.
One of the more unusual stories involves a group of students from Stafford College of Technology who get together to form a football pools syndicate in 1964.
The football pools is a betting game which challenges people to predict the results of football matches. By the mid 1960s, it had 14 million weekly players.
Many of the students in the betting syndicate lived in the county town's oldest building, the Ancient High House.
This 16th Century structure in Stafford had seen its fair share of ghostly sightings and stories of things going bump in the night.
The students were convinced that the haunted building was the perfect setting for a seance, and contacting the spirit world would give them a distinct advantage in the betting stakes.
George was the name of the ghost who helped them predict the results of the football matches.
The numbers were chosen using a ouija board, with George guiding the students' fingers gently resting on an upturned glass.
Wane in popularity
Steve Dodgeon, who was part of the syndicate and lived on the first floor, said that the group scooped £30 and £2 in consecutive weeks.
But George was unable to match his early successes and the syndicate soon gave up.
In a recent interview, Mr Dodgeon admitted: "We didn't use the ouija board for that long.
"In fact the only spirits we used were in the pub across the road."
The popularity of the football pools waned after the National Lottery started in 1994.
Mr Dudgeon confirmed that he never does the pools nowadays.