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REVIEW of Focus 08
The Ghost House

It was 1949 when my mother bought the large, imposing house in South London. Her intention was to turn what used to be a surgeon's private clinic into a guest house. Thanks to Mum's determination, the business soon earned a reputation that attracted both long-term and casual guests from all walks of life. The experiences of one such individual were, for us, the beginning of a creepy mystery that was to unfold over the many years to come.

While cleaning this particular lady's room, my mother discovered what appeared to be a rifle wrapped in newspaper tucked in the back of the wardrobe. The woman being Irish led to the fanciful assumption that here was someone connected to the IRA and my mother considered asking her to leave. This was put on hold, Mum being a benevolent soul who believed everyone deserved a second chance; that is, until next day when she was momentarily relieved to find the rifle gone, then noticed the remains of a shattered ashtray in the waste basket. That was it! - the Irish lady's fate was sealed and she would be asked to leave as soon as she returned. She eventually did, in a rush, very stressed, and declaring she could not stay in a place where she was obviously not wanted. There was something strange about her room, she said, and there was a presence, an invisible one that had thrown an ashtray at her! My mother was glad to see the back of her, refusing to believe an account which she thought to be the result of too many alcoholic nightcaps.

A second incident some time later, however, strongly suggested there might have been more than a little truth to the room's bizarre ambience. The tenant was a quiet, respectable and seemingly unimaginative man. His reported "visitation" at least had substance: a woman dressed in old-fashioned servant's clothes who had brought him a cup of tea in the middle of the night. Mother had never provided room service, certainly not at two in the morning, and dismissed the claim as a dream.

Over a period, a number of strange eventualities suggested it was much more than a dream, and even led me to research an unsolved local "murder" in 1876 that seemed to have strong connections. Following this, and although I had never witnessed any ghostly incidents myself, there was little doubt in my mind that the room was indeed haunted. Or was it my mother, not the house, who was the object of paranormal attraction? To find out what else happened to make me think this, you'll have to read the rest of the story...

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Focus 08 click here

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