Friday, 24 December 2010

BBC Ghost Story for Christmas

They are doing a version of the M.R. James classic "Whistle and i'll Come to You". It's on BBC2 tonight (24th December). John Hurt is playing the lead character, so something tells me we are in for a treat. I think it's on at 9-30pm. I have a recording of the version Michael Hordern did back in 1968. Excellent stuff!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The new season kicks off

Halloween and bonfire night have been and gone and here we are in the dark nights again. My birthday is on the 31st October (yes Halloween). No wonder I have ended up liking all things spooky!
This Halloween must have been the first year in many when we haven't had Yvette and the team of serial screamers out on a live do. I almost miss the corny entertainment of it all. It must be my guilty secret!
I wonder what televisual delights are held in store for us this winter?

Monday, 25 October 2010

Is Wisconsin very haunted?

I have just been updating the investigators section on and I have found about 3 new teams in Wisconsin I hadn't found before. Are the dead rising in WI?

Hello again - almost Halloween

Bet you wondered where on earth I had gone. I'm here again. Been having a bit of bother with a kidney stone - but enough of my troubles!
It's almost that time of year again - and by that I mean Halloween. The 31st of October also happens to be my birthday. As you can imagine, this was a hoot when I was at school. Some of my nicknames were a bit non-pc.
I have been scouring the internet for new spooky gadgets to waste my money on, but haven't come up with anything so far apart from a little platform on which to place objects. It is a weight sensitive platform and will sound an alarm if the item is moved during an investigation. Beats a bit of chalk doesn't it?
Be back soon - off looking for more gadgets.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Derren Brown Investigates

These shows are quite simply brilliant. Derren is simply asking for answers to the questions we all seek the answers to. He is skeptical, that's for sure, but he also quite clearly states that he would LOVE to be proved wrong and for the existence of the paranormal to be proved without any shred of doubt. Meanwhile he is probing into people who are making elaborate claims. The results are not only as I expected they would be, but also make me chuckle.

James Randi has had a challenge running for quite some time now "The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge" - They offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.

If any of the people that Derren Brown is investigating are so sure of their claims, how come they aren't now one million dollars richer?

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

An excuse to dress up

It has been reported that wearing period costume in the appropriate period building or location can actually increase paranormal activity. How true this is I do not know, but what a marvellous excuse for a good dress up!

Just imagine it. A whole team of paranormal investigators all dressed as, lets say, 17th century characters parading around a building in the dead of night. I don't know whether it would increase activity. I do know it would increase the spectacle and the theatre of it all.

This may all sound flippant, but there is a serious purpose behind me mentioning this. It seems that during airshows that feature period aircraft such as those from WW11, the aircrew and ground crew dress up in period outfit to add to the authenticity. This has been reported to trigger happenings in lonely hangars late at night when watching over the aircraft. I suppose the resident spirits would feel more secure and at home seeing the living dressed in appropriate attire from their period.

I have never been one to dress up in a uniform you are not entitled to wear. Don't wear the gear if you haven't done the service. I feel it is in some way disrespectful. If there is a legitimate excuse as at the airshows then I feel this is fine. Similarly, as a one-off investigation at an appropriate old airfield, maybe it could prove a useful tool to bring out the shy spirits.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Good Piece of Advice.

I have had someone mention something to me on a forum, and I have to admit it is something that has never crossed my mind. If you are planning a ghost hunt somewhere, and it isn't one of the "done to death" places on the normal ghost hunt tour circuit, it would be advisable if you told the local police about your forthcoming activities.

If you see a property that is all in darkness but you can see the odd flash from a torch appearing inside one of the rooms, the first thing that springs to mind is burglars, NOT ghost hunters. Try and make any neighbours and the local bobbies aware of what you have planned. It would be best if you weren't descended on by sirens and flashing lights! It can spoil the ambience when some burly policemen is banging on the door shouting "come out - I know you are in there. We have the place surrounded".

Makes sense to me anyway - and no, this article is not written from personal experience!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Benefit of the doubt

I am a self confessed sceptic. This is the online dictionary definition of a sceptic "a person who habitually doubts the authenticity of accepted beliefs".
Note a very important word in there. The word DOUBTS.
Most sceptic posts that I read are nothing of the kind. They are saying quite clearly that ghosts and the paranormal do not exist, and they seem to see anyone who could have an interest in such things as either delusionalists or idiots. I hope to think that I am neither of these things, but I am still struggling to find an answer to the phenomenon of the ghost. This (in my thoughts anyway) makes me a sceptic.

It does seem to be that SOMETHING is going on. Surely to goodness all the millions of things that have happened to people of a paranormal nature can't purely be written off as delusion or hallucination - or even worse, pure lies?

They also seem to mock anyone who believes in the existence of UFO's, but many people say have seen them. Amongst the reported stories are many commercial and RAF pilots who even wrote these encounters in their flight logs. The UFO phenomenon seemed real enough for the RAF to have a dedicated team investigating these things. So, who do I trust the most. Some guy writing a blog or the RAF?

The whole concept of those two huge words "truth" and "proof" are by their very nature flawed. Science is endlessly rewriting the book and totally rejecting what was once taken as established fact. We can still only take an educated guess as to how pigeons can navigate back home over hundreds of miles. The established logic is that they can see the lines of the earths magnetic field and can navigate home via these invisible highways. I can't do that. So does that mean that because I can neither see, experience or measure it that it must be garbage?

All I ask is that people nail their colours to the mast and say what they are. If they are a sceptic then BE a sceptic. If they are total non-believers and won't be swayed in their arguments then say so. The latter are not sceptics.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ghost Hunting Toys

I am a bloke therefore I like gadgets - there, i've said it!
After seeing those two on Ghost Hunters using a K-ll meter I was intrigued. Mine has turned up in the post today, so no doubt I will be asking questions to thin air again tonight to see if I can get its pretty lights to twinkle like they do on the TV programme.
Flippancy aside, it is another tool in the armoury. I have the night vision scope and IR torch, so I am all set for stumbling around in the dark. I also have the standard stuff such as the digital voice recorders, laser thermometer, digital cameras, intruder alarms thingies etc - I even have a Franks Box (as previously discussed on here).
When I have saved my hard-earned pennies a little more I may invest in a night vision digital video camera. If I get a real rush of blood to my head I might even get one of those infra-red video cameras, but they cost an absolute fortune. I think that last item will remain a pipe dream. I am only a happy amateur after all.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Shadows of the past

As it was a quiet sunday I passed the time by watching a little TV. I sat through a documentary about the Somme. As always happens any time I watch anything to do with WW1 I immediately think of my grandad. He was the single biggest influence on my life and the way I think today. He was also my living hero and someone I still feel privileged to have known.

He managed to survive the living hell of the Flanders battlefields for almost three years before being wounded by a mortar shell. After all his experiences and the horrors he encountered, he came through it all not only sane, but one of the gentlest and loving men I have ever met.

It was whilst watching the flickering, black and white film clips taken at the time I realised something so very obvious but something I had never really thought about before. These happy, virile young men gallantly waving their hats in the air for the cameras were all now dead and part of history. The very nature of cinematic photography had created something not only poignant but it had also created a type of ghost. The dead are replaying a vivid and powerful time in their lives over and over again. Oh I know they aren't really ghosts in the strict sense of the word and that film is merely a recording medium, but the feelings it can evoke at certain times can almost be as powerful as the real thing.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

A Telephone Line to the Dead?

After doing a little research online I recently purchased a new piece of equipment. Originally invented by Frank Sumption, it is a Franks Box. Well in actuality it isn't. It works in a similar manner, but a Franks Box (I believe) is a trademark, so everyone now seems to call them a Ghost Box. How it works is quite simple. It is a radio that has autotune but never actually settles on a channel. It sweeps the A.M. band constantly. A little like if you constantly turned the tuner knob slowly backwards and forwards. The idea behind it is that you ask questions and snippets of conversations come back out of the speaker that are supposed to be spirits communicating with you.

Being the open-minded person that I am I thought I had at least better test one of these things before coming to any conclusion, so I bought one off Ebay quite cheaply. Consequently I sat down on a quiet evening when I had the house to myself and prepared myself to "have a conversation with the other side". I have to admit that some of the snippets it came back with after I had asked a question ranged from total jibberish to the coherant. One question I asked was "how is the best way to contact relatives who have passed over" and it answered by telling me to buy the greatest hits of Johnny Cash. Another question I asked was "Is anyone in the room with me right now", to which it answered "well of course" - that sort of made me raise my eyebrows.

After playing with the new toy for about fifteen minutes I found myself getting a headache with the constant channel tuning. It really can become most annoying. If I had to be honest I found it to be less than 20% coherant in its answers, the rest of the time it was just total nonsense. Just to give balance I found my copy of the Collected Works of Sherlock Holmes (yes I am a Conan Doyle fan) and asked the same questions and opened the book with my eyes closed and pointed to a place on the page with my finger. The coherancy of the answers were actually slightly higher, at around 30% - but yet again a degree of interpretation came to bear. It was a little like someone answering you in riddles.

My conclusion is that the Ghost Box and a copy of a big thick book will both give random answers as long as you are willing to use a little imagination, but the ghost box throws out more random junk because of the nature of radio advertising. My thoughts are that the box is an amusing parlour game but not to be taken seriously. It is merely a random phrase generator.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

What's in a name?

It seems to be a popular thing for anyone with a resident spectre, spook or spirit to give it a name. I am no different. I have christened mine George. I know he is male because I have heard his voice on two different occasions (and no - I don't hear voices!). Both times no one else was in the house and no one was outside. Both times I did a complete house search, and both times the voice was as clear as if in the next room. An odd anomaly, and I have no proof (of course) that it was a ghost.

I wonder what the most popular names for resident ghosts are? - has anyone taken a poll or done a study?. I wonder if the most popular names change between here (the UK) and America?

If you have any thoughts on this then please leave a message.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Lost in translation

I often wonder when watching paranormal programmes how the resident medium manages to cope when the spirit they are conversing with is from a completely different time frame. The dialect they speak in the 1300's would be pretty much unintelligible to the modern ear and vice versa. Also, I often wonder what happens when the spirit they are in contact with doesn't speak any English at all. It's all very confusing!

Maybe there is no need for the mundanity of words in the after-life. Maybe all communication is done with feelings and pictures and the medium merely transcribes these into modern language for us.

As you can probably tell by most of the writings in my blog, I am still on the journey of making my mind up as to what is true and exists (to me anyway) and what I see as utter garbage. TV programme mediums are no different. I still have to make up my mind. To use Arthur Conan Doyle's words in the Sherlock Holmes stories "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" - and isn't THAT accurate?

That's the problem with the paranormal, it's a little bit like quantum physics. Everything we are dealing with is so vast that the truth is merely an evolving theory, because our minds can only encompass so much in one byte. Every year we come to accept something that was once soundly trashed as total nonsense. Science and the paranormal seem to make very uncomfortable bedfellows, yet they have so many things in common.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Ghost clearances

Are there some special powers that some mediums/clairvoyants etc possess?. I am talking about those clearances that these people perform in allegedly haunted locations. I have seen a few different approaches on those TV programmes taken during this "service" that they perform for distressed property owners.
I have seen them announce that the malevolent spirit is a violent and evil character and something of a tough cookie, only for him/her to "walk into the portal of light" as gently as a little lamb. I saw one particular TV programme last night where one of the clairvoyants actually claimed to be leading the spirit outside by holding his arm. It didn't show what she did when the hapless spirit was outside. She probably just told him to "get lost and don't come back".

The point I am trying to make is whether the clearances have a physical effect in actually ridding a property of spirits, or are they actually just having a placebo effect on the property owners. If you THINK your house is haunted then every creak and bump is paranormal. If someone has assured you that your house IS NOT haunted then you dismiss the same creaks and bangs and put any actual anomalous sightings down to imagination.
Maybe I am being over-cynical (as usual). I have no idea. Maybe I only saw edited highlights of these clearances and loads more stuff went on beforehand. Maybe the constant pounding of more and more paranormal TV programmes is de-sensitising me a little. All I can think is that if a spirit really is a nasty piece of work then he/she wouldn't give up without a bit more of a fight - surely?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Daytime Ghost Hunts

I can't imagine why ghost hunts always have to be conducted at night time. Surely if a ghost is present in a building it is present all the time. Some say that night time is better because ghosts are more active when the room is dark. I tend to think it is because imaginations tend to be more active when the room is dark!
As previously mentioned on this blog, the senses tend to be heightened in dark rooms under high paranormal expectations. I live in an old creaky house. It creaks just as much during the day time, but if I have been watching some spooky film in the evening I tend to notice every tap and creak.
I think if the location is quiet and the building is yours for the alloted time then a ghost hunt can be just as successful from a scientific or spiritual point of view. Can the same be said from a commercial point of view? - I tend to think that organised ghost hunts would probably be a total flop if operated during the daytime hours. People pay to be frightened, and there is more chance of that happening if they are stumbling around in the dark in a group containing a healthy sprinkling of hystericals.
Please do not think that I am in some way rubbishing organised ghost hunts that take large parties of guests around allegedly haunted locations, I am certainly not - in fact I think they are huge fun. That's the point I am making. These are not scientific investigations (well, not serious ones anyway).
I have personally had a few "paranormal" experiences (or was it just my imagination?) and the majority of these have happened during daylight hours. Has anyone out there ever carried out a serious paranormal investigation during daylight hours? - if so I would love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Views on the afterlife

It's another one of those days where work is a little slack, so as per usual I started thinking about stuff!
One of the thoughts was the whole "everlasting life" thing. I think most people would hate to carry on just getting older and older but the body staying roughly the same. All the people you love shrivelling up and dying around you and you just staying at whatever age the fountain of youth froze you at. Horrendous thought. I would think you would slowly go insane - and then imagine an eternity of pain and mental anguish. I think this is why people turn to the afterlife as some kind of refuge. It is a way to live forever devoid of all pain and anguish, because all your loved ones are in there with you. That reminds me of a gravestone I once saw. The inscription read "To my beloved husband Frank. Rest in peace" which is a lovely sentiment, but underneath it was the inscription "Until we meet again" - sounds like the poor old sod won't even get a minutes peace even in the afterlife!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Sceptics v Believers

I suppose by my very nature I am sceptical about most things that need a measure of faith to believe in. I do actually believe in paranormal phenomena, I just don't know what the explanation is as to what these things are.
There seems to be two different kinds of hauntings. The ones that just replay an event over and over, and then there are the ones that seem (and yes I DO mean seem) to communicate intelligently. OK, so there you are, I am a sceptical semi-believer! - so why do the hardened sceptics think that anything that hasn't yet been proven is just total rubbish and everyone who even half believes in all this stuff is just a halfwit.
There seems to be an influence of fashion at play in both sides of the argument. It is very fashionable to be a sceptic in all things of a spiritual nature and dismiss the other half of the population as mere village idiots believing in witches and goblins. There is also a very fashionable new-age movement that believes in everything from fairies to healing crystals. I believe somewhere in the middle lies the truth.
As the believers cannot prove their beliefs, just as equally the sceptics cannot disprove them. They point to science as an answer to all lifes questions, but wasn't it scientists that claimed that the Black Death was spread by bad air just over 200 years ago?
Science is constantly evolving, and all the theories and doctrines we now hold dearly are derided and laughed at some years later. All I am saying is "vive la difference" and throwing insults back and forth solves nothing. It is a very twee little saying but nonetheless true "To a believer no proof is needed, and to a sceptic no proof is possible"
An open mind is a wonderful thing but it closes if you don't exercise it regularly by just not bowing under to peer pressure. Make up your own mind - it's one of the last freedoms we have.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Animal ghosts

There are several websites out there on the internet sharing stories about animals coming back to haunt us. I wonder where the line is drawn on what would be able to come back to share our lives again over and above the usual dogs, cats and maybe horses?
Let's face it, if all animals came back to haunt us then KFC, your local fishmonger or your local butchers shop would be paranormal hotspots wouldn't they?
OK, it's a very flippant remark, and dogs especially do seem to be more prone to supernatural presences and things we can't see or feel than other animals, but maybe this is because we don't share our houses (normally) with cows and pigs?
If dogs are more sensitive to spirits does this mean that they themselves are capable of becoming spirits and coming back to visit us?
I have a very loose theory that may be totally off-beam, but maybe these animals are an extension of the haunting of a human being. A little bit like when people report seeing phantom airmen in their aircraft. They see the aircraft along with the ghost and not just a man floating through the air in a sitting position.
Maybe this is belittling the nobility of the dog and maybe they DO come back on their own merit - I obviously have no idea. It would be nice to think that a beloved faithful pet might come back to see we are OK wouldn't it?

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Good progress

As promised I have extended just about every category on the website. I didn't realise how many paranormal investigation teams there are out there - there may even be millions! (well maybe thousands anyway).
I have found loads in the good old UK and USA, but I am really struggling to find them in other english speaking countries. I only say that they must be in English because I can't give a link to a website if I can't read what it is about (my French is appalling and my German virtually non-existant) and I can't afford the services of a translator!
I have only found ONE investigation team in New Zealand - ONE, surely there must be more? Australia and Canada aren't doing much better either.
If anyone knows any teams who aren't appearing on my fledgling little list then please feel free to suggest them to me.
Enjoy the rest of Easter.

Friday, 2 April 2010

New stuff

I have to admit I have been hellish busy (no pun intended) and have neglected both this blog and my website a little. Now that Easter is here it gives me a bit of time to start to expand my site a little. I suppose I was prompted to do this by receiving an email asking if I would like to exchange links, and so it concentrated my mind upon actually putting up the link and getting on with some work. I hope to be concentrating on the US side of things today, but anyone out there with a UK website that I still haven't added, please do contact me.

Have a happy and safe Easter.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Standing room only!

The second meeting of Leigh Paranormal took place last night (wednesday) to a packed house of around 60 people. Quite a lot for the small pub room it was held in. I have been invited to be part of the team - should be fun.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Leigh Paranormal Investigation Team

Tonight marks the second meeting of Leigh Paranormal. A group of paranormal investigators from my home town of Leigh in Lancashire. They already have investigations planned and are all ready to go!
Tonight they will be choosing certain members for key roles within the organisation. So far I will be attending myself, but many a slip twixt cup and lip.

Meeting to take place at The Boars Head in Leigh


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Friday, 19 February 2010

The dog is NOT happy

We have a Border Collie x Alsatian female dog (I hate the word bitch). All of a sudden it has taken fright at a television programme and becomes quite upset about it. It shakes, drools a little and is most unhappy - and what is this TV programme, is it some horror film with scary music? - no, it's BARGAIN HUNT!!!

I do wonder what the heck can be scary about dear old Tim Wonnacott and friends. I even wondered if it was the sound in some way, but no, even with the sound very low it still hates it. Weird!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Website Updated

At long last I have got round to updating the website. I have added more to the Investigators and the Links pages. If anyone out there would like a link adding then let me know (does this mean I am saying "Is there anybody there?" - probably!)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

All in the mind?

Most old, disused buildings are spooky when night falls and the air is still. Every little creak and noise you would ordinarily ignore becomes terrifying. It becomes even worse if that old, disused building is a former asylum or mental hospital. We all have horrifying visions of all those old treatments that were administered donkeys years ago - they seem almost like torture. Things like electro convulsive therapy etc. What I am trying to say is that the former use of an old building can heighten the sense of fear and expectation. I daresay we wouldn't feel as scared in an old teddy bear factory as we would in some old high security mental institution. It is assumed that all these tortured souls have had a greater effect on the building and hence these places are more haunted - and we all think them to be haunted by bad spirits. I suppose that this is a remnant from the past for the feelings we have towards mental illness. These people weren't bad, merely ill.

If the stone tapes theories hold true and strong emotions can be absorbed into the magnetic resonance of the buildings then the logical conclusion is that these former institutions should be rich in residual hauntings. It would be interesting to see if that is scientifically true wouldn't it?

Saturday, 30 January 2010

I wonder what excuses will be used?

Apparently, in the year 2012 we are "ALLLLL DOOMED" as the scots chap on Dads Army would say. Call me a sceptic but I think we will still all be happily plodding along in 2013 without even a toaster breaking. It wasn't long ago since the last doomsday and believers were in the streets hugging, kissing and saying their goodbyes. When will we stop looking for correlations from ancient bits of text and saying it means this and that. I am sure if I look through the Mayan predictions I will see something that suggests to me that Wigan Athletic will be european champions within 3 years - I hope they are as they are my team, but I wouldn't put a months wages on it.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Animals about the house

The latest "manifestation" in our humble little pile appears to be that of an animal. I have no idea as to what this is or why it should suddenly start to occur. At first I thought it was the usual peripheral vision stuff that sometimes happens when you think you have seen something out of the corner of your eye, but you then put it down to tiredness or rogue shadows etc, but it started to happen on an almost daily basis. I kept it to myself convinced that it was something to do with my vision, but now Fran has started seeing it as well. She announced last night that "I must be cracking up. Did a cat just dart across the room?" I chuckled and asked which corner it was in, and it was the corner I always see it in.
This could (I suppose) go towards explaining as to why the dog (after all these years) suddenly seems afraid to set foot in the lounge. At first we thought it was noises on the TV, but it never freaked out at the telly before. Maybe the dog has been seeing it longer than us!

Friday, 8 January 2010

My Childhood Playmate

As I am writing this I am in my little farmhouse listening to logs crackling on the fire and looking out across the snowy garden outside my office window. We spend years wishing for a white Christmas and then when we get one we all want it to go away now that January is here. The weather has lousy timing! At least this has given me a little time to devote to this blog.

One episode I wanted to write about was from my childhood.
Between the ages of about four and five I had an imaginary playmate. Most children do I am told. I would play with my little pal up in my bedroom. He would just turn up in the room but I never saw him arrive. One day we were playing with my toy cars and he suddenly asked if I would like to come and see where he lived. I said I would, so off he went and I followed him. We went into my parent’s bedroom.

In the bedroom there was a cubby-hole; a sort of full size door, behind which lay a small square room about three feet by four. Most old houses had them. He opened the door to this and went inside. I peeped around the door, and off to the right was a flight of stairs. Really unkempt and dirty looking – like in a derelict house. He was half way up the stairs gesturing for me to follow him. Some time before my mother had told me never to go in there but never really explained why, so I thought I had better pop downstairs and ask her if I could follow my pal.

I arrived downstairs and mother was at the kitchen sink washing up. I tugged on her apron and asked her where those stairs led to. She asked which stairs. I said “the stairs upstairs” she said I wasn’t making sense and there were no “stairs upstairs”
I was insistent and told her my I.P. (imaginary pal) had gone up them. I was so insistent I dragged her off upstairs to see.
When we arrived in her bedroom I pointed at the cubby-hole door and said “in there”
She reminded me that she had told me never to go in there. I pointed again and said “IN THERE” so she looked.

She gestured me to come see. There were no stairs, just a pile of old junk such as old vases and lampshades etc. She forbade me to go in there because I could have hurt myself. I looked and just couldn’t figure it all out. It WAS there – there WERE stairs. I sat down in a heap and cried.
That was the last I ever saw of my imaginary pal. I suppose I.P. must have thought I was no longer any fun to be with. I do often wonder though, what would have happened had I followed him?

Many years later I was recalling the story with mother when she took me completely off guard. She asked if my I.P. wore green velvet. I said yes he did. “Did he also wear white knee length socks, patent leather shoes with big silver buckles?” she asked – again I said yes. I asked her why she asked and if I had described him to her at some time in the past. She said that I didn’t need to. When she was a little girl, if she was about to come down with some bad illness, the night before she would say to her mother (my gran) “hey that little boy is sitting on the foot of my bed again” and gran would say “Oh Lord I better call the doctor now” It seems I had inherited the little beggar!

I had a couple of these little forays into the paranormal around that age. Another time I had been ill in bed. It was night time and somewhere around nine o’clock. I got out of my bed and my legs felt like jelly. I still had a fever and was far from right. I walked to my bedroom door and shouted down the stairs that I wanted a glass of water. The stairs were all in darkness.
Slowly, out of the gloom, I could see the figure of a woman coming up the stairs, I didn’t recognise her but she was smiling. I assumed she was some friend of my parents or some neighbour. As she drew closer I saw in complete terror that I could partially see through her. To say I let out a scream would be doing my efforts a gross injustice. I shrieked like a banshee, and as if from nowhere I found the strength to leap clear over my bed to the other side whereupon I hit the wall and slid to the floor in a quivering, crying, screaming heap. The whole family came rushing upstairs convinced that I was being attacked and murdered. My mother picked me up and said “David, what’s wrong? Speak to me” but I couldn’t. I had a big lump in my throat and could barely stutter out the words “woman on the stairs” and “ghost” Everyone knew I wasn’t making it up just by the colour of my face and lips. Apparently I looked like a corpse. I slept with the stairs light on for years after that.

Some years later an aunt had died and we came into possession of some old photographs. I was looking through all the old sepia tone snapshots when I came upon one particular picture that almost made me fall off my chair. My mother said “what’s up, you look like you have seen a ghost” I said “I bloody have, that’s her, the woman on the stairs” holding up a photograph. Mother said “Oh that’s your Aunt Lily, she died before you were born, I’m sure she meant you no harm” and do you know, she probably didn’t. She was probably just concerned; hence her smile, but she damn near gave me a heart attack that night.

The really ironic punch-line to all this is my birthday. It’s Halloween!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

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