As the saying goes, “the truth is often stranger than fiction,” and over the years I have experienced this personally. However, I have refrained from using it as a plot for a horror novel as it is an emotive issue and one which I would prefer not to capitalize upon.
Back in 1996 we took my mother in to live with us. She was suffering from dementia and was no longer able to live alone. It was a difficult time for us seeing a strong, independent and extremely intelligent woman slowly become estranged to us. We did our very best for her up until her death on February 14th 1999.
Our grandson was born on February 19th so he never saw her. When he was about five he came to stay for a few days and slept in the spare bedroom which my mother had occupied. One morning, quite casually, he asked, “Who was that old woman in my bedroom?”
He was quite unperturbed and described whom he had seen and every detail fitted my mother!
Moving on several years, I had been writing the first drafts of my books with a Parker ballpoint which had been my mother’s. I left it on my desk whilst I went downstairs to make a coffee and when I returned it had disappeared. Of course, I assumed that I had put it down somewhere so a thorough search was made but there was no sign of it. Until about a month later it reappeared in clear view on the table in the gunroom! A week later it went missing again from my desk. This time its absence was only a fortnight before it turned up. Guess where?
Soon afterwards a regular scenario started. The walls of our games room are decorated with a display of vintage tobacco tins, all of which are affixed to sizeable cork boards. Then the clattering started at infrequent intervals. Three tins, always three, were found at the end of the passage by the doorway to my mother’s old bedroom. In order to arrive there they had to travel across the floor of the games room, turn a sharp corner and roll 3 metres before hitting the wall. There was no way they could have done this accidentally.
One Sunday morning I was in the kitchen when I heard a loud clattering from up above. I ran upstairs and that was when one of the greatest shocks of my life greeted me. Standing at the end of the corridor, just outside her former bedroom, three tobacco tins at her feet, was my mother. I had an unrestricted view of her for maybe twenty seconds before she moved away. I looked in the room but there was no sign of her. I went back downstairs quite shaken.
We seem to go for long periods without any inexplicable happenings, believing that she has left us. Then, suddenly, something else occurs as it has recently. Only last week when Jean was in the kitchen she heard her name called out from the stairway. She opened the stair door but there was nobody in sight. A couple of afternoons later it happened again. During my mother’s stay here she was forbidden to descend the stairs unaccompanied, in case she fell, but on occasions she disobeyed. Then, half way down, she would lose her nerve, cling to the bannister and call for help…
A couple of nights later I let Ellie, our springer spaniel, out in the yard prior to bedtime. As I stood in the doorway waiting for her, my name was called out from upstairs. We have clearly moved on to a new level now, a vocal one.
Throughout all of this I have been most grateful for the support of Paul Adams, the well-known paranormal author. Paul has published around eight excellent books on the subject. I wrote the foreword to his “Extreme Hauntings,” written in conjunction with Eddie Brazil in 2013. (www.pauladamsauthor.co.uk)
So we go on, awaiting the next happening. An exorcism has been suggested but I refused this as it would be a case of kicking one’s own mother out the house. At least I know what it is all about and neither Jean nor myself are disturbed by it. In some ways I think it is rather nice to have my mother still with us, and do I really want to upset a ghost that is very handy in hurling articles around the house, I think not!