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I was a little girl at the time, living with my mum, dad and brother and sisters in a family house in Brighton, Sussex.
It was your average small semi-detached with boxy rooms. To look around, the area really wasn’t the sort of place you would expect paranormal activity. It was the roughest estate in Brighton. You’d be more afraid of the living than the dead.
That said, the houses built with red brick and dark windows, had a definite coldness to them. It was an eerie place to be, especially at night. I never felt settled there.
It wasn’t until after the events which I am about to describe that I found out the houses on our street were built on a Neolithic camp disrupting ancient burial grounds. Charred human bones were found and the analysis suggested cannibal activity.
If you think I am making this up, think again.
They say that ghosts are tortured souls, trapped after death between this world and the next. And I guess you could say, I lived with one.
There was a night that particularly stands out to me and I will never forget. It was a night that ended up reducing me to tears and even scared my Dad, who was a hard-as-nails kind of man. Nothing scared Dad.
It was about 7pm on a rainy, windy night at the end of October….
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We'd decided as a family we would all congregate in the sitting room and watch a film together.
We turned off all the lights in the house which we used to do pretty often, of course for the ultimate cinematic experience around our 20 inch CRT box TV.....
I remember we'd get angry with whoever left a light on upstairs and force them to go turn it off so we were in complete darkness watching the film.
Our internal doors had glass panes in, you see. So we always had a clear view of what was happening in the hallway and whether lights were left on, if ever.
Completely settled now that all the lights were off, I sat close to my mum beside the sitting room door and the film started.
About 1 hour in, I looked up at my mum and her I could barely recognise the expression on her face - sheer terror.
That’s when we all heard it.
It was like someone was dragging their feet through the rooms upstairs.
We paused the film, and the footsteps stopped.
I can’t explain the chills I had running up my spine.
As soon as we restarted the film, the footsteps started again. Only this time, they continued and started walking heavily down the stairs…
I'm actually getting pretty scared just writing this and reliving it with you.
My Mum called to my Dad, 'can you hear that Seamus?’
He shrugged it off. Nothing scared the man.
'Mum, I'm scared.’ I said.
Sitting close to the glass door that looked out onto the dark hallway, where the stairs ended, I couldn't help but peer out to see what the noise was.
Fear was making me do it.
Bam, before my very eyes, I saw the bathroom light turn on. And everyone was still in the living room.
My Dad told me to shut up screaming, he was trying to hear the film. ‘Why are you shouting like that?’
“I just saw the light turn on in the bathroom!” I exclaimed.
There was someone or something with us.
And that wasn’t all that happened that night….
As the bathroom light lit up the dark hallway, I couldn’t stop looking out, expecting someone to appear in the shadows.
Before my own very eyes…
The handle of the sitting room door started turning and the door flung open. Completely by itself.
We were all terrified, Dad included.
So many paranormal events like this happened in that house. A separate time, I saw a hand glide along the landing banister as I looked up from the hallway downstairs. Another time my Mum felt her bed being shaken as she tried to get to sleep. It was a regular occurrence to hear heavy footsteps walking at pace around the rooms upstairs when nobody was up there.
Years on, after researching more about the history of the area, I also learned that a woman named Ethel Elmore, the daughter of the Squire of Woodingdean disappeared after visiting the fair that took place in the area. A few years after this incident it was said that she haunted the area dressed in a pure white gown - and became known as The White Hawk Lady.
Was it her? I wonder.