Do you believe in ghosts? For a number of years I certainly didn’t and felt it was: ‘probably a bit of fun’, ‘something to attract tourists’ or ‘made up to scare’ – like the smugglers who used to invent stories to keep people away from their hidden ‘booty’. There are all kinds of factors involved - you may never see a ghost or you may have seen one without even having been aware; there are times in life when you are more receptive or it may be in relation to location.
There had been talk of past sightings of ghosts at work, but I did not give it a second thought. Some years later I had my first experience. (The building where I worked used to be a children’s hospital for TB). One afternoon I sat down to do some marking in the classroom and something made me look up and there was a young boy holding on to the door handle with both hands while slightly swinging the door. He was staring at me in an inquisitive kind of way – I looked at him in surprise, looked back at my work then looked up again and he was gone. What struck me was that he was totally grey. I found myself putting away all the work and rushing out of that room as fast as my legs could carry me and as I went through the door I felt a kind of electricity pass through me as if he was still there. I rushed to the staff room to be near other members of staff. I kept thinking how silly I was – what was I running away from – he was no danger to me and he looked a lovely little boy. Not long ago I told someone about this experience (someone familiar with ghosts) and asked if it was usual for ghosts to be grey and she replied that he was grey because he was very sick. Her reply made perfect sense. Discussing the experience with someone familiar with ghosts was very reassuring.
The next occasion occurred while I attended a two day course. It was held in a large country house – a really beautiful setting in the West Country. I have never been one to leave the light on when I go to bed, but for the first time in my life I felt totally uncomfortable in the room I was allocated and therefore decided to leave it on. During the night I suddenly awoke to see a woman standing in the far corner of the room. I sat up and froze – how did she get in as I had locked the door – perhaps she had a spare key. Who was she? She looked ‘upper class’ and dressed as if she was from the forties with lots of make up – very colourful. She started to walk towards me and I was trying to think what to do – should I make a run for it, should I pacify her – I was so scared. She spoke to me as if to try to comfort me – she sat on the bed and gently put her arms around me telling me everything was going to be all right – perhaps she was seeing someone else. I thought if I put my hand on her shoulder it may appease her - as I did this I noticed the skin on her neck and back was like elephant skin in colour and look – it was cratered and hard. I wanted to scream and escape. The next thing I knew it was morning with the light still on. (No, I had not been drinking and certainly do not suffer from hallucinations). The next day I made some general enquiries about the house. I was told the family had made their fortune from tobacco and there had been a fire in the house causing extensive damage (having since been renovated). I couldn’t find out if anyone was burnt or died in the fire, but felt sure it must be connected to my experience.
Some years ago my husband and I went on a touring holiday and stopped off at Haworth. We arrived late afternoon and found a B & B for the night in the main street. After an early morning breakfast we decided to visit the churchyard before the coach loads of tourists arrived. It was a beautiful sunny warm August morning and we were the only two in the churchyard. We started to look around at the headstones. We noticed a woman walking across the churchyard in a great hurry and she wore clothing from the Bronte period (Bonnet and Dress were brown). She spoke briefly in regard to the day and asked who we were looking for. We told her we were having a general look and hoped to see the Bronte ‘Vault’. She pointed in the church direction and said something. Off she went in her ‘hurry’ again. We both looked towards the Church and looked back to say ‘thank you’, but she had gone - we wondered how she could have walked so fast to be out of view. We checked the church, but it was shut. We decided to call in at the museum to check on ‘opening times’. During our conversation with the lady making preparations at the museum for its opening, we commented that it was interesting to have people dress up in period costume (something we have locally for Dickens Festivals). She looked at us rather puzzled and replied they didn’t have anyone dress in period costume except for the occasional special event. We both looked at each knowing what the other was thinking. The woman we saw was so real, was it a ghost or was it someone playing a trick – surely not that early in the morning!
These are three of my personal ‘ghost’ experiences that I wanted to share with you. How you perceive them is up to you.
Heidi Von Zilpke