Things That Go Bump in the Night

After reading a few posts about various people’s personal experiences with ghosts recently, I thought it might be interesting to share my own. Only they are not really my experiences – I have never seen anything myself. I need to tell a story first.

My grandparents moved to Oxfordshire in the 1960s from Yorkshire in the north of England. They bought an old house with a yard that was big enough to hold vehicles, and started a successful family business that ran for several generations and was ultimately sold about twenty years ago.

Growing up I remember visiting the house, and playing in the yard in the evenings. I also remember staying for sleepovers when I was young several times too. Nights in the yard were always tremendously dark, because the house was on the outskirts of a small village, and some miles from the nearest town.

Years later, after my grandmother died, my Grandfather moved into a bungalow in a nearby town, and my Dad’s sister inherited the house. She and her husband set about renovating it back to it’s original state. The house had originally been built as several cottages about four hundred years ago, and the yard had been a quarry for a time. Over the years it had been converted with modern plumbing and electricity, and most of the walls and floors covered either in panelling or plastered over.

When the renovations started, so did everything else.

My uncle would sleep on-site – usually in a sleeping bag within the house, or in a caravan alongside it – while my Aunt stayed with my Grandfather at his bungalow.

One night – while sleeping in the downstairs of the house, my Uncle heard what sounded like marbles being rolled across the floorboards upstairs, and children’s footsteps running after them. There was only one problem – they had recently removed the upstairs floor, leaving just the beams that had supported it, and a clear sight to the roof rafters above. There was no upstairs.

Over the next few weeks tradesman started to experience strange goings on too – feeling rooms become very cold while they were working in them, and thinking others were playing pranks on them – swearing there had been people behind them, or tools had been moved. One day a room filled with mist that ended neatly at the open door frame. It become more and more difficult to find people to work on the house.

It’s worth pointing out that my aunt, and my little cousin never saw anything. Only my uncle, and the builders had seen anything. Until late one night – after moving back in – when a plant moved across the floor of it’s own accord. Nobody saw it move directly – but they noticed it was now in a different place, and it’s leaves were waving back to a standstill. Not knowing quite what to do, they called the local church who came out to investigate.

I’m not sure what happened with the church – I don’t know the full story – but I think you need some pretty serious evidence for them to perform an exorcism. As far as memory serves, it wasn’t done, and strange things continued to happen. My aunt started reading about the whole subject around hauntings, the history of the house, and what they might do, and they eventually invited somebody to visit. I want to say it was a medium – a spiritualist – but I can’t really remember. It was somebody that many might refer to as a witch.

The moment she walked into the house, she told them there was an old woman looking through the window. My uncle had seen the face at the window before, and never told anybody, because he didn’t want to believe what he had seen.

As soon as the house was finished, and my aunt and her daughter moved back in, everything stopped – nothing strange happened again – but she carried on researching the history of the house, and discovered that two children had died in a well in the yard – a well that had been filled in decades earlier. There had been heresay in the village about an accident at the house generations before, but this was the only clue they ever really found.

I haven’t seen my aunt for several years. She still lives in the house alone after splitting up with her husband, and has not seen or heard anything strange since. I suppose you could argue that the sounds in the empty house were the shell moving, and stones falling through cavities. You could also argue that the mist was freak atmospheric conditions. You could also argue that the dog kicked the plant that slid across the floor.

It makes you wonder though, doesn’t it – is there more to the world than we observe? Is there something about the fabric of space and time that we don’t quite understand yet?

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