EVIDENCE has emerged of occult activity in Hopwas after a "copper plate" featuring engraved magical symbols was dug up in the village's ancient woodland.
The rectangular tablet, which features an illustration of a star alongside mystical writing, was found buried about four inches below the ground in Hopwas Woods last Saturday.
It was dug up by investigators from the West Midlands Ghost Club, who had been researching old stories of witchcraft and hauntings in the area.
Intrigued members of the club are now appealing for more information about the artefact and an explanation of what the symbols might mean.
John Conway said he discovered the tablet while using a metal detector at the site as part of his research into the area's mystical past.
He described the find as "totally unexpected" and "intriguing".
He told the Mercury: "Our interest in Hopwas came about two years back, because we had heard a couple of ghost stories from the area. On checking up on the history, we heard about things going on in Hopwas Woods."
He said: "We visited the wood with a metal detector – the purpose of the visit being to get an overview of the area concerned and, potentially, find evidence of some form of magical practices."
John said he was inspecting an area situated on former Ministry of Defence land when he picked up a "buried" signal with the metal detector, and started digging.
"We did not notice at first, but we were in the centre of a natural circle of quite old trees.
"We initially thought what we'd found was simply a thick piece of copper sheet, but, upon further scrutiny, we found it was deeply etched with peculiar symbols and writing, quite evidently of an occult-related nature."
After cleaning up and polishing the item, the magical symbols could be seen.
But he said he realised the "ethical" implications of digging up a potentially sacred item.
"We realise someone has put something there purposefully. If they want to contact us privately we would be quite happy to hand it back."
In 1984, reports of naked "witches" in the woods emerged after a raid by police in which several people were detained.
At the time, the leader of the group, part of The Order of the Silver Star, spoke out and defended the group's actions.
Members denied being witches and described themselves as "serious occultists" who had been using the woods since the early 1970s.
During rituals they claimed they "connected with the stars and planets".
Contact John Conway on 07944 478708 or visit www.westmidlandsghostclub.com