A spirit drops in on UFOREA!
As you might imagine, I tend to spend time with others who share my interest in parascience and the paranormal: I belong to several loose associations that meet from time to time to discuss the occult, free energy, UFOs and so on.
Recently, a group of six of us met in the delightful Tudor cottage of David, a charming and urbane man who recently retired from work in special effects.

As I settled down in a comfortable sofa, glass of claret in hand, I was immediately aware of a female presence: naturally, I asked our host if he had ever encountered a spirit in his house. His reply surprised me:

uyuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu"No: the house is not haunted, more's the pity!"

After half an hour or so, David went to the kitchen to fetch more drinks: as he did so, I was not entirely unsurprised to see the partially-materialised figure of a young woman in a lace gown move down the stairs towards the ancient front door! Two other members happened to be looking in the right direction to witness the spirit's traverse of the lounge: one seemed quite shocked by the experience! It transpired that this was his first such experience.
David was quite disappointed that his host duties had caused him to miss the apparition!

A ghost at a dinner party!
The events described here occurred at a dinner party at my home. In total eight people sat down to dine, and were quickly at ease in each other's company. The food and wine were sumptuous and the evening promised to be memorable….but not in the way that transpired! For totally unexpectedly, this urbane soiree was to provide four of the diners with their first contact with the 'other world!'

The Thai Crab patties had just been consumed with relish and cleared away, and a superb vegetarian Tikka Masala  brought to the table, when a female guest became aware of a presence building up in the kitchen over her host's shoulder. (You should know that the dining room and kitchen of the house are separated only by a chest-high brick divider and are linked by a one metre wide corridor to the rest of the house.)

She decided to say nothing, in deference to her feelings that to do so might shatter the ambience of the meal! In the event, one of the other guests sat up in his chair, his face suddenly pale….
"I just saw….someone….something...walk down the corridor!" he blurted.
" Just an outline...kind of ...grey and hazy. But there was definitely something there!"

This guest and his wife (who was sitting opposite her husband) both happen to be pragmatists and - perhaps worse! - clinical psychologists!
The wife regarded her husband sceptically with a very raised red eyebrow.

At this point I leaned forward and confided that I too had seen the spectral figure….had in fact been watching her (for it was an elderly woman who had visited the gathering!) for some time!  Another female guest quickly added her supporting observations...

"Nonsense!" rejoined the female psychologist. " It has been shown that the retinas of people over the age of forty undergo changes that produce just these kind of 'flashback' images! Isn't that so, Paul?"
(This to her husband!)

His composure having been somewhat restored by liberal draughts of good red wine, Paul gratefully agreed with his wife!

This 'explanation' somewhat avoids the issue of how seven people  (one of whom is considerably younger than forty!) could independently witness a similar manifestation! Still, some people will ALWAYS resist the urge to believe even the evidence of their scientifically trained eyes!!!

A haunted bedroom...

Several years ago I managed to persuade a young woman to spend the night with me in a delightful old inn, hard by a famous Jacobean Hall in central Norfolk.

The landlord (with whom I was well acquainted from previous similar assignations!) had prepared a sumptuous and sensual supper of prawns, local crabs, lobsters and oysters, washed down with a very presentable (if non-vintage) Champagne.

The heady combination of French wine and seafood rapidly worked its familiar magic, and I soon found myself disporting in a vast and beautifully caparisoned four-poster bed.

Some hours later (I was a younger man then!) my companion fell into the  deep sleep of the fully satiated: I reclined on the satin pillows, too full of my recent triumphs to sleep!

After a time I began to feel thirsty: the rich food and wine had left my mouth in a somewhat  desiccated condition! Accordingly, I pulled back the curtain on my side of the bed and lowered myself to the floor. The corner of the room contained a vanity unit, above which was a long rectangular mirror, illuminated by the pale glow of a fluorescent strip-light.

As I approached the unit to pour myself a drink of water, I noticed, reflected in the mirror, a shadowy figure stepping forward from the gloom behind me to stand at my shoulder.

This spectral outline resolved itself into that of a man in full 17th century costume: his long wavy hair and the colourful brocade of his attire identified him as a Cavalier.

Naturally, I was a little perturbed to say the least! The effects of the wine instantly dissipated: I stood, as sober as a judge and as naked as a jay-bird while the smiling figure of the Cavalier seemed to be appraising my reflection in the mirror! What could I do? After what seemed ages but was probably only a minute or two, I resolved to confront the spectre, or at least rouse my companion: I swung round….the room was empty save for the snoring wench in the four-poster!

A haunted house!
The most haunted house I ever knew? It was in a city in Eastern England…. there is a castle on a mound in the centre of the city and a cathedral with a tall spire!

This house had been empty for some time when I bought it: I was desperate, otherwise I might have asked why! There was much to do: I rolled up my sleeves and got on with the job!

I was aware right from the start that this was not a happy house: the rooms seemed always to be cold, and the third, smallest bedroom was plagued by flies: the type that in England are known as 'bluebottles'
My first job was to rip up all the old rotten floorboards and joists …..these I burned in the huge, amphitheatre-like back garden that I soon discovered went with the house. Naturally, I assumed this had been dug to provide building materials for the row of houses of which mine was the first. But one evening, as I was burning some more rotten wood, an old woman informed me the pit had been used to burn witches in the 17th Century! 

The old floor, I replaced with many tons of concrete, which I smoothed to a perfect level and covered with stone tiles........

One night a friend came to visit from Germany. With him were his wife and baby daughter. As we enjoyed an excellent French meal, we heard the sound of the little girl's rippling laughter from the third bedroom. We went to investigate, and heard her chuckling " Komischer Mann!  Komischer Mann!"  as she pointed into a corner of the dank room. Even my distaste for the harsh, guttural tongue of my guests failed to prevent me grasping her meaning:

" Funny man, funny man!" 

Chilling, eh?!
Some weeks passed. On the evening I have in mind, I had enjoyed the odd glass of wine, and retired to the downstairs bathroom to await the inevitable before retiring to bed.

Since I was alone in the house, and was convinced I had locked all the doors, I was somewhat perturbed to hear the unmistakable noise of the kitchen door opening and closing with a bang!  Then  came the sound of heavy, echoing footsteps as if upon a bare wooden floor: closer and closer they drew, towards the thinly panelled door of the toilet, where I sat, my senses acutely focused.

Then I remembered! The floor had been solid concrete for several months! My heart nearly stopped, as I heard the sound of stentorian breathing on the other side of the door a few scant inches from my face!

What could I do? What would you have done? A fellow less brave might have passed out! After some minutes, I chose my course of action! I leapt to the door and flung it open: the passage was empty!

The denouement? I found out subsequently (from a 'helpful' neighbour) that the previous occupants had been an elderly couple. The old gentleman had been confined to bed in the third bedroom for many years: his wife had slept downstairs in the living room. One night she passed away….her husband, feeble and unable to leave his bed, had eventually starved to death unheeded. When their demise was eventually noticed, the ambulance men had to remove the two mattresses to which their corpses had become inextricably fused……….

Not a pleasant story, but a true one! And was the house haunted by the shades of the unfortunate  pair? Or was it one of the many mad old women consigned to the flames in the back garden?