Do You Believe In Ghosts?
Do you believe in ghosts? I do. I believe I have seen one, and been in the presence of at least two others.
Once was when I was quite young and at home in Erdington. Dad was not home from work yet and mom and my sister, J, were upstairs doing something girlie. I was watching a report on the local Midlands news programme, which was investigating hauntings in local factories. The interviewer was talking to two “witnesses”. As I watched a shadowy figure of a woman appeared behind the “witnesses”. I thought it was a joke. A special effect. I called upstairs to my mom and sister, but, the article had finished by the time they got downstairs.
My story was, however, corroborated the following day on the same news programme. They had received a number of complaints by other viewers who had reported seeing the “bad taste” special effect of the ghostly woman. But, the programme claimed innocence and replayed the piece, which this time was “spirit” free. Spooky.
Perhaps the best example of things going bump in the night was at the first house which C and I rented together in Alderley Edge. An old Victorian mid-terrace cottage. C woke in the night on more than one occasion claiming to have seen an old bearded man stood at the foot of our bed. Spooky. And no, I was neither bearded nor old at this time.
In the same property, strange things would happen in the kitchen. Drawers and cupboard doors would mysteriously open themselves. This was not the side-effect of poor fitting or cheap appliances. This was a Poltergeist. You could literally walk from the kitchen into the dining room with everything “normal”, and, having forgotten something, immediately turn on your heel and re-enter the kitchen, to find all drawers and doors wide open. Yes it was spooky but there was not any sense of animosity or fear. It was more as if the ghost had a sense of humour and was having a bit of a laugh.
Things did, however, get a bit twitchy one night when we were entertaining friends from London. We were having a meal in the dining room and talking about ghosts and all things spooky. Admittedly, the wine was flowing quite freely. But, all of a sudden the CD, which was playing music, stopped. The cassette tape switched itself on. The cassette tape switched itself on to “record”. The cassette player was recording us. The cassette player was recording our conversation about ghosts. To be clear, to get the cassette player to tape you would have to first switch from CD to tape, and the hold down the play and record buttons at the same time. I can barely do this sober, so I am sure I couldn’t have done it in my inebriated state.
We went very quiet. We looked at each other and we laughed nervously. We turned the music back on. And, it happened again. A second time. Even writing about it now I can feel the hairs on the back of my head stand up and a shiver is passing down my spine. Spooky.
We now live in an old Cheshire Reformatory School, a boys’ prison, which is converted into nine properties. The prison was built in 1855 and housed some 76 convicted boys aged between about 6 and 16. Crimes ranged from local boys who had stolen bread, presumably as a way of getting the education that the school also offered, through to convicted murderers. Often these would be boys from as far afield as Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow or London, presumably working on the premise that there would be less chance of them running away to get home.
Now we have never felt any presence here, C and I. Our next door neighbour did once claim that a ghost was moving things around his home but as this used to be our old house (we moved next door!) and we had had no such experience, we assumed he was joking. We didn’t like him very much. He was a nob and a fraudster. Worse, he used to stand in his lounge window wearing just skimpy underpants. Spooky.
More compelling, however, was the story of Holly. When Holly was just 3 years old or so and her family had just moved into the property. Holly asked her mom if she could go and play “with the boys in the courtyard”. Of course there were no boys. And, of course, little Holly knew nothing of the property’s history at that point. Spooky.
One house that does have a feeling about it, an eeriness, is Trivor. Trivor is a house in Monmouthshire which is owned by the father of a good friend of mine from university. My closest friends, and more recently their wives and partners, and subsequently their children, have visited the house every year for nigh on twenty years or so now. Trivor is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Most of the current property dates back to the sixteenth century, however. A Catholic Priest was caught practising an illegal Mass there during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 and was apparently hanged, drawn and quartered. It must have smarted a bit. I guess something like that can leave a bit of an impression on an old place like that.
So, what about you? Do you have any ghostly tales that you wish to share?
Entry filed under: childhood memories, ghosts. Tags: Alderley Edge, Birmingham, Bradwall, cheshire, do you believe in ghosts, Erdington, ghost, ghosts, haunted, haunting, monmouth, most haunted, poltergeist, reform school, reformatory chool, trivor.