#4 in the Spooky October series
Nope, that’s not code for something. I mean properly haunted. With a ghost.
Growing up, I was the youngest of three, and since my brother and sister were much older, I was more like an only child at home. I don’t remember much of the early manifestations, but it’s safe to say they freaked out my parents.
It was an old brick –built house, dating from the late 1890’s, and joined to the house next door, semi-detached style. These were the only two properties at the end of a long country lane.
Picture the scene. Late at night. The household is asleep. My brother is home with a group of friends, and after returning from a night at the pub, they all crash on the living room floor. All is peaceful, until the locked back door makes a banging noise, as though someone threw the door open. Same with the kitchen door. Then the door at the bottom of the stairs. Heavy feet pound up the stairs. Each bedroom door flies opens in turn, and then shuts again. The footsteps hurtle back down, the doors all slam shut. The whole thing was over in less than a minute.
My father was furious. He charged downstairs, ready to take the guys to task, but found then all asleep. Solidly, and drunkenly. They slept through it.
This pattern of doors opening and feet on the stairs was repeated a couple more times, but then stopped. Was it connected to the well-meaning local vicar saying some prayers in the house? We’ll never know. He drew the line at exorcism, you see. Anyway it seemed to work.
Other odd things happened while I was growing up, events that defied science. Strange noises coming from next door, like bowling balls rolling along the floor. When Mum asked the neighbour, he said the sound was coming from our house.
Playing a card game—Chase the Ace—that relied on the Ace of Spades, and having to stop the game when it went missing. Totally and completely missing, from one hand to the next. The card turned up in the front garden the next morning, lying on the top stone of the rockery.
When I was eight, I was given a proper wristwatch for the first time, as opposed to the cheap ones beforehand. I was thrilled, and vowed to take good care of it, wind it up every day, and take it off at bedtime. Two days later, it vanished from my bedroom overnight. I swore I placed it on the dressing table when I went to bed, but in the morning it was gone. It turned up a week later, lying proudly on the rockery stone—and still keeping time, even though it should have run down days earlier.
The TV being struck by lightning as we watched the Wimbledon finals one year was bad enough. When it happened again a couple of years later—again during the Wimbledon finals—it went beyond coincidence. Our poor next door neighbour had theirs struck by lightning another year. Three strikes on the same building? Seriously?
And yet, even with a plethora of unexplained things happening, we never felt scared or uneasy. Ours was a calm and playful ghost. Rumour had it, a teenage boy that grew up in the house, had died in a road accident at fifteen, and it was his spirit that haunted us.
Years passed. My parents retired to somewhere smaller, and my brother bought the old place and remodelled it. The original staircase was taken out, the upstairs was redesigned. All was going well until the master builder decided to work late one bright, summer evening. He heard a noise behind him, and thought it was his apprentice packing up. “Pass me the hammer,” he said to his boy, but nothing happened. He glanced over his shoulder, and saw a young man looking at him. Even as the builder opened his mouth to speak, the stranger turned on his heel and walked through the new interior wall that had been constructed days earlier.
To my knowledge, the builder is the only person to ever actually see our ghost. The house has been sold on a couple more times, and now lies empty. That’s a shame. I’m sure our friendly ghost preferred to have company.
Have you ever seen or heard a ghost? I’d love to hear from you 🙂