Been racking my brains to recall any real enough ghost stories or encounters but I've failed miserably...unless you count Dad's seeing his mother-in-laws ghost disappearing into a wardrobe. Dad was staunch Chapel and couldn't be doing with airy fairy stuff like ghosts and spirits...
You'll remember, because I've often written about their house, that it was three storeys tall with an attic right at the very top. And it was big...huge rooms and landings the size of our present sitting room...every room was filled with heavy over-sized Victorian furniture and artefacts Dad had bought in sales all across Shropshire...Samovars and stuffed Monkeys and a case full of exotic butterflies...another chest had small drawers with an enormous selection of birds eggs...all terribly non-pc now of course...so the house could have been creepy enough...it wasn't though...not in the very least.
And the landings all creaked furiously long after you'd gone to bed...
On the second landing was an old double wardrobe against one wall and behind the wardrobe was the door which led to the servants stairs...it had long been in disuse anyway...the other end came out in the kitchen and was blocked off by a cupboard Mum kept the Hoover and floor brushes in.
Mum's Mother had been dead for around six months when Dad saw her come out of the main bedroom and walk across the landing to disappear through the wardrobe door...
Dad said she was wearing her favourite pink twinset and grey tweed skirt with sensible laced up shoes...he was so startled that he spoke to her, thinking her real enough even though he knew full well she was long gone...
That house must have been stuffed full of spirits...it was built in the early 1600's and had originally been a warehouse for wheat with the living quarters downstairs...we often used to sweep up grains of wheat which popped out through the gaps in the wooden floors. The river Severn runs almost outside the front door and in the days when everything was moved by barges, the wheat was run down a chute from the upstairs straight onto a waiting barge.
Then the downstairs was a grocery shop and later on a cobblers...two elderly sisters had a small private school in what became the dining room and during both the Wars Army Officers were billeted in the house while Mum and Dad moved to the flat over the pharmacy for the duration...
The early part of the houses history is rather vague though Dad did have the original inventory for the first furniture...
So, it ought to have been heaving with ghosts...we really should have not been surprised to have seen blokes in tight leggings and with feathers in their caps strolling about...or small girls scurrying around with china potties first thing in the mornings...and Mum and Dad kept cats...not people to do anything in halves, they usually had at least a dozen cats draped over radiators and fast asleep on chairs...shedding copious amounts of fur all over the Queen Anne. But not once did any of those cats ever show any signs that they'd seen anything...
And Dad...he was a feet on the ground sort of a person who dismissed any such creature as a ghost or a spirit as nonsense...until the day he saw his long gone mother-in-law walking into a wardrobe.
When I first began nurse training we had to live in the nurses home for the first year after which we could move out into a flat or bedsit...to while away the evenings when we were due to go on late duty we started to hold séances...and that was a very silly thing to do. Very silly indeed.
No idea who suggested it in the first place but one evening found half a dozen of us in the sitting room with a glass and a piece of cardboard cut into a circle and hastily scribbled letters on spare bits of paper. And it frightened us speechless...that glass moved of its own accord and I'd still punch anyone who said differently on the nose...
We didn't stop though...evening after evening would find us in a secretive huddle while we asked increasingly serious questions and watched with something akin to horror as that perfectly ordinary tumbler shot here there and everywhere spelling out words so fast sometimes we could barely read them.
Next to the female nurses home was the male nurses abode...separated by a strip of grass...it was highly forbidden to invite the opposite sex into either home so we just left one of the downstairs windows open, as did they...one evening Pierre came to see what all the fuss over the Ouija board was...he was very Black, very tall, very thin and spoke English with a strong French accent...he came from a tiny island out in the middle of some warm ocean somewhere.
Sit down we said...sit here Pierre and watch what happens when we ask a question...and so he did. I think someone asked a fairly silly question along the lines of what the weather would be like on the following day...the glass obligingly gave the answer and Pierre shot to his feet...and gave us a lecture on how incredibly dangerous it was to 'invoke evil spirits' and did we know what we were doing and how difficult it would be to rid ourselves of any 'attachment' we'd make to some entity which only had evil intent...
Pierre...brought up, we later learned, with Hoodoo and Voodoo , and tales from his Grannies and Aunties about zombies ...who considered it perfectly normal to consult a Witch -Doctor for advice about marriage prospects and a solution to monetary woes...thought we were playing with fire and lost precious little time in telling us so...
But we didn't stop. Not straight away. It was a few days afterwards when we were once more sitting around the coffee table and someone asked a question and the glass moved so fast we couldn't keep our fingers on it...then it lifted into the air and smashed into a hundred tiny pieces when it hit the window.
We never played again.