INTERVIEW ON 3 OCTOBER 2006
Jo Smith (Case Leader), Julian Perkins and Pete Southern.
Isabelle (pseudonym) is a divorced mum of three and is aged between 35–45. She has three children who all still live with her - a girl of approximately 12 years of age, a boy of approximately 14 years of age and another boy of approximately 18 years of age. There are other regular visitors to the house including her brother and best friend – both who were present at the initial meeting. The atmosphere in the house feels very light and positive. The family have a dog and two cats.
This is a semi-detached house in a leafy grove not far from a busy main road. The house itself is on four levels: a cellar, a ground floor, a first floor and a second floor (including attic space on the same level). It is over 100 years old and is modernised throughout.
Isabelle’s family are Catholic and she has a Catholic background. It was not clear whether she is still a practising Catholic but she does have a blessed crucifix which she has given to her daughter to put over her bed.
Isabelle stated that she was sceptical before moving into the house. However, during the course of the conversation she relayed a number of previous incidents which indicated otherwise. These included:-
Working at a hospital – Isabelle said that she has a ‘spooky feeling’ in certain areas of the hospital and does not like to go to these places on her own
Isabelle also related a number of instances where people she had recruited to work in the hospital (including her own sister) had left citing the ghostly phenomenon as their reason for leaving.
Isabelle also recounted a number of ‘urban legend’ stories related to her by others working at the hospital including apparitions in doctors attire “walking through walls”.
Isabelle also told us that when she was younger and living in a flat in Bootle with her ex-husband a shadow appeared in the doorway one night. Isabelle claims this shadow kept advancing towards the bed, where she was with her husband, then retreating. Her husband then chased it around the flat where it moved along the walls through the kitchen and bathroom and then through the bathroom wall. She has been told since by her ‘psychic’ sister-in-law that it was an evil entity and that the reason it retreated was because of the blessed crucifix she had above her bed.
Isabelle also saw an apparition appear feet first and upwards at the top floor of the Thistle Hotel as she got out of the lift. This was an apparition of a young, blonde man which then disappeared.
Isabelle is open to psychics and believes that one of the two psychics (her sister in law) who visited her home gave her relevant information. This was mainly giving the gender of the four spirits in her home. She has informed M that this consists of :-
A young girl (about 4 years old. They attribute moving of objects and writing on walls to this ‘spirit’)
A young woman (they attribute tidying to this woman)
A man (not much is known of this man but he is thought to be the heavy breather)
A man - ‘Mr Brown’. This is the most interesting of the four supposed spirits. Mr Brown is said to be a watchmaker who had a shop in Waterloo. Her sister in law described him as a tall man wearing a hat and that the man had a chubby face ‘like a farmer’ and was wearing a Macintosh. When Isabelle related this to her (previously sceptical) father he confirmed that there was a Mr Brown who had been a watchmaker in Waterloo, and that he himself had purchased Isabelle’s mother’s wedding and engagement rings from him. He also verified that this matched his description.
The second psychic was generally considered to be a charlatan, though he also gave the name Mr Brown.
FIRST INSTANCE OF PHENOMENA
Isabelle first realised that there was activity at the house shortly after moving in. She commented to her eldest son about how tidy he was keeping his room – when in fact he was leaving it in a messy state. Both she and her eldest son had both assumed the other was tidying his room.
Later, during her housewarming party, neighbours approached her to ask whether she had the ‘visitors’ at her house. When she asked them what they meant they told her that the ‘spirits’ move along the houses in the Grove and can be in any of the houses at one time.
Lights/heating going on by themselves - Isabelle said that all throughout the year, including the height of summer, she will return from work to find a number of lights on and the heating switched on. Family members state this is not their doing.
Heavy breathing - This has been experienced by Isabelle, her brother and her son. She described the sound as someone with emphysema breathing heavily in her ear. The eldest son said that when he experienced this sound he told it to stop, which it did. He then asked it to do it again, which it did. He was frightened by the experience.
Visuals - 1) The eldest son had been on a night out and when he returned he went past the living room. On doing so he saw a figure sitting in the armchair. It was mainly the legs that he saw but when he addressed it and turned on the lights there was no-one there. Again, this experience frightened him. 2) A family friend rang the doorbell and saw what she thought was one of the sons running up the stairs. However, when Isabelle answered the door she confirmed she was in the house alone. They went upstairs together to investigate but there was no-one there. 3) The eldest son was watching television in the living room one evening and saw the arm of the sofa depress, as though someone had just sat down in it – but there was nobody there.
Writing on the Wall - There are marks on the walls in the kitchen and were more on the stairs – though these have now been painted over. The ones in the kitchen are interesting. The walls do have marks on them anyway and seem to scratch easily. However, the ones in the kitchen follow a definite pattern – diamonds and swirls.
Banging Doors - The banging of doors has been heard by everyone in the family and many visitors. Also, the living room door is a particularly ‘active’ place. This door in particular is ‘flung’ open if left closed – so much so that Isabelle no longer closes it but leaves it open most of the time.
Footsteps are regularly heard on the landing on the first floor and along the laminate floor in the hallway.
Moving Objects - Isabelle said that objects in her room are regularly moved around and that her children confirm they are not moving them. Also, when her partner moved in, she assumed he had folded his clothes and put them in the drawer of the bed but he said he had not. No-one else in the house claims to have put these clothes away.
As far as we could ascertain, none of the family have seen anything moving (i.e. objects or tidying) other than the living room door being thrown open and the figure running up the stairs which a family friend mistook through the porch window where she was standing outside as one of the children.
Recently, a small ‘bookcase’ containing videos on the upper floor was knocked over and Isabelle, being used to this phenomenon, said she would not tidy the videos scattered on the floor away. The next night they were all back on the shelf. Everyone in the house confirms they did not tidy the videos away.
The eldest son was watching a video in his room recently and paused it to go downstairs to eat. When he returned the video had been replaced in the case and placed back onto the bookshelf.
The daughter is growing out of her ‘dolls’ phase but when she puts them away they are brought out again. She has therefore left them out for the ‘spirits’.
The electric cupboard in the porch is often pulled open when it has previously been shut. The door is on a magnet and requires some force to pull it open.
There are many instances of the family catching a movement out of the corner of their eye – particularly outside of the cellar door.
WHO HAS EXPERIENCED THE PHENOMENA?
Isabelle and her children, her partner, her friends and family have all experienced phenomenon on various levels. Her (previously sceptical) brother was particularly frightened by the heavy breathing. The children have witnessed the doors being flung open. The daughter saw the cellar door open (and the handle turning) when she was in the house alone. Isabelle said that the only person not to believe in the phenomenon is her brother in law. He has heard the running footsteps and banging doors but puts that down as noise from next door.
The eldest sons’ experience of seeing the figure in the chair took place after a night out where he had been drinking, though he assured us that he was not ‘drunk’ and is absolute about what he saw. It is also worth noting that there is a mirror over the fireplace and street lighting outside.
The phenomenon does not follow a particular pattern (perhaps as it is thought that the activity moves along the houses in the grove). There are no factors to gauge where or when things happen. It doesn’t happen in any particular room or with any particular person at any particular time – though activity such as banging doors is said to have increased recently, the evening after Isabelle showed potential buyers around the house.
Isabelle has an interest in the phenomenon and is not scared (but said she would be if she saw anything physically. She does not want the ‘spirits’ to be frightened away and would like them to move with her and her family when they leave, though says this is unlikely.
The tidying and moving of objects takes place in Isabelle and her eldest son’s room.
There are a number of rooms where no activity has been reported.
Isabelle and her family did not mention any changes in environment – such as temperature.
The building does not have a known reputation being haunted – other than activity at the other houses in the grove.
It is claimed that the dog often barks at nothing.
OUR 'ONE-SHOT' VIGIL SUMMARY - 12 JANUARY 2007
Since moving into the property a couple of years ago, the residents of the house (and interestingly, also neighbours in the adjoining terraces) have noticed an increasing number of unexplainable incidents. After the owners requested the services of a 'medium' they were advised that there are four 'presences' at the property. The reported phenomena have centered around electrical items, the moving of children's toys and even a great deal of tidying up! Other incidents have included an imprint suddenly appear on a leather chair as though someone had sat down on it, the sound of loud exhalations and footsteps. Only recently those living in the house have begun to see apparitions of children. We did not experience anything of any significance during the vigil.
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