Monday, 8 February 2010

A wee ghost story to start the week

I never used to believe in ghosts. I was, shall we say, open minded but sceptical. Not to say that I didn't find the subject - and other peoples' experiences - fascinating. When we viewed this house, back in the 1980s, we fell in love with it. That we would end up living here was no foregone conclusion as we had offered on other houses elsewhere, but after losing several buyers on our house in Dorset, it came to pass that this rambling old Welsh farmhouse was where we ended up. It was, in the words of estate agents at the time, ripe for renovation. In other words, it was semi-derelict . . .

We moved in here with our eldest daughter who was about 15 mths old then. Her bedroom (the nursery) was the little room overlooking the front garden where I sit typing this. Initially our bedroom was the one next door. Life was hectic as we began the first renovations - unblocking fireplaces, including the inglenook in the kitchen, and reclaiming the "garden" which was just grass with a path up the middle and a couple of apple trees.

It wasn't until I was pregnant with our middle daughter and we moved along the hallway to the big bedroom where we still are, that I noticed an atmosphere on the landing outside our bedroom door. It wasn't threatening or scary, it was just "there" and it was an unhappy feeling. I put it down to the hormonal fancies of being pregnant. However, when my husband had to go away overnight to see his elderly mother in Manchester, I was left here alone. To be honest, I got myself so worked up that I was scared to spend the night here alone, and I called some neighbours who brought sleeping bags and camped out in a spare bedroom. Our old bedroom - the one with the chain lock on the door . . . Several doors had these simple locks. We wondered why?

We would occasionally hear footsteps, but my husband (sensibly) put them down to it being an old house creaking, although there was one occasion when I heard his footsteps coming up the stairs (as did my m-in-law who was in a bedroom backing onto the staircase) and yet my husband was in bed beside me at the time! I had to invent a story about him going back downstairs for something to my m-in-law as she was very nervy and would never have visited again (as it was she expected aliens to abduct her from her bed as "flying saucers have been seen in Wales you know" . . .)

Over the years I came to terms with the atmosphere - it was just "there". Then I came home one day to find that my husband had taken a hammer and crowbar to the planks and doorway which had blocked the stairs to the (then derelict) attic - a doorway with the stoutest lock yet. With the dark doorway gone and the stairs returned to their original form it looked so much better - and then I noticed that the atmosphere had gone too. For some reason we decided to spend that Christmas in the big back room beneath our bedroom which is called the Morning Room. It enabled us to have a huge tree and the children (by then we had 3) thought it was great. However, I noticed . . . an atmosphere . . . and spent the entire day in there desperate to get away from its gloom. The room quickly became a junk room . . .

We gradually got to grips with the work to be done on the house and my mother came to live with us in what had been the dairy in the very bottom of the house (it's built into a slope so on 3 1/2 levels). We reclaimed the attic too, and all of a sudden the housework doubled! The children became teenagers and the ante was upped for the ghostie.

Now we had banging too, sudden footsteps on the floor above - 2 or 3 steps, then nothing. It seemed to keep Middle Daughter company, and although she is used to it, Eldest Daughter gets freaked and has asked can we please NOT have a haunted house next time! It began to move around a bit, and I think for a while, we ended up with two of the perishers, after buying two big cupboards from the very haunted Theatre of Adelina Patti at Craig-Y-Nos. Shortly after those arrived, I woke in the wee small hours one morning to hear the most beautiful woman's operatic voice singing down in mum's. My mum was very deaf, and sound asleep, and I am afraid I just pulled the bedclothes up over my head and didn't go and investigate! Just that one occasion . . . but the other cupboard which was in another junk room at the back of the house, also seemed to have an occupant, and my eldest daughter would never play the piano in there unless someone was in keeping her company as she complained that she could feel eyes boring into her back . . . Probably those of an angry Adelina Patti for the piano was TOTALLY out of tune! Those cupboards have now gone to auction and been sold and hopefully someone else has a haunted cupboard in their house! I got totally freaked out the night I watched Most Haunted and found it was from Craig-y-Nos though!!!

Things really came to a head, ghostwise, when we had some friends visiting, and the gentleman was a medium. He said yes, we had an entity here, but it wasn't a ghost as such, it was just "here" - that was my "Atmosphere". That night, after they had left, I was sat here typing away (pretty much as I am doing now) and I heard a heavy breathing behind me. Strangely I wasn't scared. It was the ghostie playing up again. My son, up in the attic, also heard the same thing. Anyway, I went to bed and at 3.20 a.m. in the morning, I suddenly woke. I was laying facing our big window, which overlooks the paddock and then a hilly field beyond. There is a trackway down off this field onto the lane, and sometimes this is used by a neighbour when he goes lamping for rabbits. As I lay there I saw a bright light. I assumed it was Jim out in his Landy with a couple of dogs and a gun. But the light didn't move left with the track, it came straight towards the window, which seemed odd. Then it burst through the curtains in the form of an orb and dissolved in front of my eyes! Again - I wasn't frightened - though I had no great inclination to go to the bathroom on my own that night . . .

The next morning, I was out on the landing by our bedroom, telling my husband and son what I had seen that night, but trying to explain it away. As we stood there, the strongest smell of peardrops surrounded us. We all smelt it. There was no explaining THAT away and it was the Atmosphere telling us it was still there, and perhaps asking when was the nice man (our medium friend) coming back again?!

It obviously picks up on emotions as I can remember spending a very restless night waiting for my son to come home from his School Ball. I was worried as the roads were icy. The hours passed slowly. I tossed and turned, and then, joy of joys, though I hadn't heard the door, I could hear his footsteps coming up the stairs, and then on the stairs up to his attic bedroom. I was SO relieved. Half an hour later, still awake, I saw car headlights past our bedroom window, heard the slam of a car door, the screech of the gate, and then D WAS home and walking up the stairs. Explain THAT!

It moved around the house after that, taking up residence in wherever was the quietest part of the house. That is currently the bit under the eaves which hides the water tank and next to where Middle Daughter has her bed. It occasionally bangs on the wall when she's home, and it has a great liking for anything electrical. It frequently turns on her computer in the wee small hours, and at Christmas it turned her alarm on at 2 a.m. (probably with great glee!) and she couldn't make it turn off again so had to unplug it. . . .

We think it is connected with the sad case of two occupants of the house from the 1881 census, who were adult, but had "IDIOT" written down beside their names in the Handicap section of the census. I don't doubt that they were locked in various places whilst their elder sister, who had charge of the farm after her parents' death, and the rest of the family had to be at work outside. I think they were usually in the attic, but probably sometimes in the other front bedroom too, the one with the lock (a simple chain link and catch with a peg through it). I know they must have been very lonely and unhappy.

By now, you probably think that this is purely the workings of a fevered imagination and yet, when some previous occupants of the house (a Dutchman and his wife) called last year, they happened to mention the Atmosphere too. She used to be scared to cross the landing in the middle of the night (if her husband was in the yard with a difficult calving), so our wee ghostie has been here quite some while . . .

I am now tuned in to the blighters too, as when a friend and I visited Breamore House a couple of years ago, we went into a bedroom and you could have cut the atmosphere in there with a knife. Something was in there and it did NOT want a gaggle of Dutch ladies in there with it (we had inadvertantly joined a coach party by mistake). I couldn't stand the atmosphere which said "GET OUT OF MY ROOM" as clearly as if it had been screamed, and I went outside. My friend, who felt it too, said she wasn't going to be pushed about by a ghost!

We passed into the next room - a beautiful pale blue room with a double aspect. Thank heavens I thought, what a lovely atmosphere this room has. I walked down to the far end to examine some embroidery. I was standing close to one of the windows. I became aware of the most dreadful draught and thought, with all the money they must be taking here, you would think they'd sort the windows out! Anyway, I stepped away from the window, but the cold followed me. It was icy now, and starting to invade my body from behind. I could feel it creeping into my legs and lower back. I shot across the room like a scalded rabbit and said to Trish, "Whatever you do, DON'T go by the window, as there's another ghost there." Anyway, the guide who was doing the tour, gathered the group down that end and inadvertantly Trish stood by the window. I could see by her face that she was feeling what I had felt, and indeed all the hairs on her arms were stood up on end and she was covered in goose-bumps. I can only surmise that the combined (happy) energy of all those ladies had been all that the ghosts needed to be able to manifest themselves. Odd - I've been to Breamore several times before and noticed nothing . . .


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your ghostie story. I found it fascinating reading, you are such a great writer and I felt the hairs on my skin stand up as I was reading and began to feel very cold. I think you are very brave to live around your ghost I am not sure if I could be so strong about things, I think your wonderful sense of humour as helped!!
    I have experienced little encounters over the years. My B in L had a little cottage in Moray in Scotland and that most certainly had a presence. It was generally in the hall way and my daughter and I and my nieces had very definite experiences. The hallway was icy cold on occasions, the clock stopped, the dogs used to growl and doors were knocked and voices heard. The bathroom was along there and one night I went for a shower and heard the door knock and I know I heard voices. I wrapped a towel around me opened the door and no one was there. The obvious thought was someone was playing tricks but no was as I was the last up and everyone was fast asleep. My daughter woke one night to find the main light on in the bedroom and bumps and movement had been heard.... I have the goosebumps as I type this. We tried to find history on the house but to no avail. The atmosphere is unpleasant not happy at all.
    Recently in what is my sons room which is where his Nan passed away. We only have two bedrooms and my son gave up his room so Mum could come home for palliative care. My son found his lamp switched on... no way could it have switched on by itself and no one was playing tricks. I have felt movement on occasions and when I least expected it and have turned around to find no one there.... yet we have no atmosphere here and no unpleasant feelings.... so that is a little bizarre.
    However I ramble... your ghost/s sounds fascinating and I am so glad you shared it with us... thank you so, so much!!
    Jane xxx

  2. There are more things in heaven and earth B B - fascinating story.

  3. Aromatic - he has been very quiet of late, and now he's not so obvious around the house, I don't mind, but that said, I'm still NOT happy to be here on my own at night.

    I really can't explain ghosts. I have always picked up on "atmospheres". Sometimes I honestly wonder if, when we pass on, we don't exist in another parallel universe, which would explain why, sometimes, people encounter ghosts. Sometimes I wonder if houses, especially stone houses like this one, don't "record" what has happened in them in the past. There was a rather frightening play many years ago now called "The Stone Tape" and that relied on this same premise . . . I know for certain that there are things that cannot be explained. There are things I have experienced, and which if I wrote about on here, would probably have the men in white coats knocking on the door. Yet these are things I was still honestly sceptical about - until I experienced them. I know that I have some psychic ability. My girls have it too. It is both a curse and a blessing. It sounds like you have it too - the little cottage in Moray obviously still has someone in it reluctant to leave or still playing out scenes from when they lived there. As for the room your mum died in, oh bless, it looks like she is showing you that there is something after death, and putting the light on has shown that. I'm sure many folks reading this will think I am completely batty. So be it.

    WoG -You're right there - but the scientists want PROOF and in my experience, these abilities can't be turned on and off at will - they come to us, unbidden . . .

  4. I love a good true ghost story and all my hair is now standing on end (which is quite a feat!).

    We had an atmosphere in our house in Worcestershire which we hardly noticed until we had the house on the market and she used to make here opinions known about the various potential buyers. She liked the ones who bought it, thank goodness!

    I sit at the computer in my house now in what used to be the Parlour where the dead would have been laid out. I often get the sense that I am being watched. I wonder what they make of all this modern technology...

    Thanks for the tag to the meme too - I will definitely join in.

  5. I was reading your post..immersed in it...deep in it...when BAMMAABAAMMM!!! omg I leapt out of my bloody chair lol!! it was MALORY!! he leaps at the back door to be let in,it makes a rigth wallop & my mind being immersed in your ghostie post meant I jumped TO THE CEILING!!
    am giggling now! but wasnt a few moments ago lol!!
    There are new people in my old cottage now,I wndered today actually if the ghost there had made themselves known so it was good timing to read what you wrote! I must blog about my little feline ghost here soon!
    GTM x xx

  6. Crikey! What a great story to read. I am such a wuss when it comes to ghosts. We stayed in an old cottage in Old Glossop over Christmas and New Year and upon leaving I was asking if there was any history known about the cottage. It turns out it was the coffin makers cottage a few hundred years before. The Church was across the road.

  7. Things surely happen which have no explaination in logical terms. I shy away from believing that the dead can "come back" in any form--I think rather of mischevious or down-right malevolent "somethings" which come from a dark place. I've had a few experiences of a momentary clairvoyance--scared me silly and I don't encourage it!

  8. Really enjoyed reading this - engrossing stuff! The worst place I've ever been in for atmosphere is the Jewish quarter in Prague, it was so bad I couldn't stay there, it was a horrible, horrible feeling that I hope never to experience again.

  9. Hi Belle - fascinating story. Have you ever tried suggesting to your "ghosts" that they didn't have to stay with the house, that they could pass into the light. I'm surprised your medium friend didn't suggest it. Some of my healer friends are mediums and have often been involved in things like this.