Friday, August 08, 2008

Spectre Psychology

Have you ever spent a night in a haunted house?

I’ve spent the last two weeks in a charming cornish farmhouse, miles from anywhere deep in the countryside.

It was a truly rustic building with sloping, creaky floors and doors that were anything but rectangular. Also, being 6 foot meant I’d developed a hunched back and sore head from avoiding all the low ceilings. Not to worry though, I was on holiday and wanted to do nothing – literally.

The bed was cosy, but you know how it is sleeping in a strange environment – it’s never the same as your actual bed and it led to waking up more that I normally do in the course of a usual night. Often in those times of waking I’d hear a few bangs from somewhere within the house. Nothing sinister, probably the dog stirring or someone else banging their head on the toilet door.

I didn’t think much of it until well into the second week when we discovered, and read the visitor book. All fairly normal apart from one entry:

"Lovely holiday though I do feel sorry for my friends staying in room 3. On the Thursday night they awoke to find a blurry figure of a man with a pitchfork opening their wardrobe. He disappeared but not before opening and closing the main door too. This happened again on the Friday – both times at around 3am."

And yes, guess who was sleeping in room 3 this time. So that night I went to bed and low and behold had a less well-settled night. Of course it was utter nonsense, one paragraph in a visitor book but it played at the back of my mind. We hadn’t seen any evidence of a haunting, though there was the occasional banging which could have been anything.

Nothing happened in the remaining nights but it goes to show that suggestion is a powerful thing.

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