It is very sad when a child dies and even sadder to think of a little 'lost spirit'. There are however many reports of ghosts of children, and often they are attracted to other children, now living in what they feel is still their home.
Three investigations we were involved in around 1992/3 involved 'little ghosts'. In two of the cases there are children in the house nowadays, who are apparently attracting those 'spirit children' from the past.
In one of the cases, Mark (3), one of the three children now living in a Glasgow council house, appears to be playing and interacting with unseen children and their toys. Unseen to most of the adults in the house, that is. The sound of a ball bouncing in Mark's bedroom upstairs was reported, and later heard by myself and also another investigator, when we visited the family. There was no one in the room at the time. Mark was screaming at night and distressing his family. He was sometimes even crying through the day, as though he was tired of playing, but the 'children' would not go away and let him rest. We told him to wave to them and say "Good-by as though they were ordinary visitors, and this seemed to help a bit, but not entirely. Mark still seemed to be very distressed from time to time.
I eventually invited a medium along to see if he could pick up any impressions in the house. Now I admit to being quite cruel to mediums when I am investigating a case. I give them practically no information, other than the number of people in the home. "Two adults and three children are in the disturbed house, and I'll pick you up and run you there on Saturday morning about 10am," I said. We picked him up and drove him to the house in a sprawling pre-war housing estate, on the outskirts of Glasgow. I had also warned the family not to give him any information until the chap had had a chance to wander around the house and Mark's bedroom in particular, to see what he could find out. This is my usual procedure in such investigations. We then follow up with a general discussion, including the family concerned. On this occasion Mark's Granny had arrived as well.
Our medium, Ian, came downstairs smiling and he told us the house was full of kids. Mark at this stage was out in the garden with John, playing with his Police pedal car. Granny had taken the other two to the shops. What kids? Spirit children of course! The children were much older than Mark, we were told; perhaps about 7 to 9 years-old, and they had brought along their toys as well.
Now this might sound extraordinary to many people, and you may now be thinking that I am too gullible to investigate such cases. Perhaps I am, but we had this small child obviously seeing something, and he was interacting with something or someone that he could see, and the medium could see, but his parents, Granny and we could not. Later his little brother aged 18 months, also started to interact in the same way. As Mark was beginning to cope with the situation, Graham started, almost where he left off!
We were lucky to have considerable knowledge of the history of the house. One of our investigator's aunts had lived in the same house for many years. In fact she was the first tenant but had moved out to look after her mother, in the same estate, several years ago. She had no children and it seems the only child who had stayed in the house was our own investigator, now in her thirties. She had stayed with her aunt during her childhood from time to time.
Were those children, and their toys, gate-crashers from the Spirit World? Or is there another better explanation?
In February 1993, were asked to investigate the ghost of a little girl in a large house in Lanarkshire. The house is now run as a hotel, but soon after it was built, Annie aged 7, the daughter of the first owner was killed in a riding accident in the extensive grounds. Her playroom known as the "Doll's Room", at the time of our visit was the chef's room, in the old nursery flat at the top of the building. The young chef and several members of staff, had seen and felt the little girl's presence, both on this floor and also on the stairs. Before our visit, I had spoken to one of the receptionists who had been very frightened with an experience she had, while typing at the reception desk, near the foot of the very grand and elaborate staircase. She said she was "frozen to the spot", as she felt a presence on the stairs behind her. During our visit we saw a huge mirror over the enormous fire-place, on the opposite wall from the wooden banisters. Did the little girl crouch down and look at her reflection in the mirror, through the gaps in the banisters? There is only room for a child to do this.
We saw Annie's portrait, painted in oils, when she was three and we were surprised to see a very mature little face, with a very determined expression for such a young child. We also saw the little family cemetery in the grounds, where she is buried alongside other children of the family who died in infancy; her parents were also buried there later. It was all overgrown when we visited it, and the writing on the gravestones has almost disappeared. We used dowsing to find Annie's grave and we were almost certain we had located it. We were accompanied by the young chef, who we felt was almost obsessed by Annie, or at least her sad story. In fact we wondered if he could be helping the other members of staff to see and feel her presence? There has been no evidence of interaction with this little ghost, so perhaps it is just like an old film being replayed to a receptive audience.
LITTLE LOST SOULS
A member of the SSPR told me a tale she had heard from a young medium from the midlands: he had been called out by a lady who was very upset because she was sure she could hear a child whimpering and the sounds of a dreadful cough, coming from one corner of her bedroom. The medium said he had made contact with the spirit of a child who had died in the room at one time from diphtheria. When he died, he said he had been afraid to go "towards the light". Instead he had just stayed there, crouched in the corner. The medium, with the help of the owner of the house, helped him to go towards the light, and he was not heard again. A lovely fairy tale?...Perhaps but have you got a better answer?
Another child ghost gave a man quite a turn in the middle of the night; so much so that it took him five days before he told anyone about it. He rang me up and said that had got up in the night to go to the toilet and on his return to the bedroom, he found a small boy of about eight or nine years old at the bottom of his bed. The child wore an enormous old-fashioned night-shirt...big enough for a full-grown man. As he got back into bed the man found the child had crawled up the bed, and was lying cuddled into his chest. He felt the damp little body and soaking wet curly hair against his body. "Who are you?" The little boy asked. "Who are you?" asked the man. "My name's Paddy," said the child with a strong Irish accent. "How did you get so wet?" he was asked. "I've got the fever.... I died of the fever," was the reply, as the little ghost gradually disappeared.
Our research of this sad little tale showed that the tenement property where our subject lived, had been built in the early part of the 19th.century. Irish immigrants had moved into the area because of famine in their homeland. They had brought with them a particularly virulent form of Scarlet Fever, and many of the children had died. Possibly Paddy, if he ever existed, was one of those unfortunate children. The man who reported his experience, was a bachelor, and had little experience of children. He was quite convinced that he had not been dreaming.
IMAGINARY FRIENDS OR LITTLE GHOSTS?
A case from the English side of the border was reported by a mother living alone with two daughters, aged five and seventeen.Their home is a 200-year old house in the country and fairly isolated. R The younger child had been seeing a little girl ghost recently, and her mother had overheard her young daughter speaking to someone that she could not see. When questioned, the child said that she was talking to the little girl who used to live in the house, long, long ago. It later turned out that the older daughter had met the little ghost girl, when she was about the same age as her sister, but she had not seen her for years; she had almost forgotten about her, and had never mentioned it to her mother.
I know that young children are often said to have imaginary friends, but in my opinion there is considerable evidence that in at least some cases, there is something much more interesting going on. Look at the case of Mark and the 'spirit children'. The medium picked up his impressions in Mark's room, before we attempted to tell him the phenomena reported by the family. Often the child can give considerable evidence about his or her friends, which is later backed up by evidence uncovered by either investigators like ourselves, or it just pops up in due course by itself from old newspaper cuttings, finds in neglected lofts or other storage places. Even old children's toys, dolls, notebooks, diaries etc are found, which shed some light into former young occupants of a home. In other cases family members, long departed can be the source of such childish companions, in other cases they just seem to drop in to share another child's toys and life. In most cases the whole phase is over after the age of six or seven, or even earlier. I am quite sure in the majority of cases it is quite harmless, but it can be very annoying. Stephan (pronounced in a Welsh accent, by a very Scottish child, Emily.) was very irritating. He had to have his place set at the table. He even dragged so far behind in town one day that the family missed the bus home, and the family had a very late tea! Emily's mum realised one day that the little presence (she had sometimes felt him around, but never saw him) had been missing for several weeks. When questioned, Emily said quite bluntly: "He's gone." She would never discuss the matter again. That is quite a familiar reaction. One phase of childhood is over, and is quickly forgotten in the rough and tumble of school, homework and play.
THE GIRL IN THE RAGGED WHITE DRESS
Visitors to the haunted Mary King's Close under Edinburgh's Royal Mile, have reported another little ghost. Sensitive people sometimes see a little girl, about eleven years old, wearing a long, dirty and ragged white dress. She has sores and scabs on her face. Sometimes she is seen sitting on a stool in the corner of a particular room, with a doll. On other occasions she is seen in the same area accompanied by a little dog.
I have had several first hand accounts from people who have seen the girl, or at least felt a presence or coldness in the haunted room. We don't know who she was, or why she is so persistent, but perhaps one day a medium will be able to communicate with her. On the other hand she may just be what I call a memory ghost; just like an old movie which can be replayed over and over again. The film stars will never do anything different from the day they made the film. This little ghost has been known to follow groups who go down deep under the City Chambers, to an area of old closes, which was devastated by The Plague, in 1645/6.
A case I was involved with in the summer of 1996, involved another ghost child, of much the same age as the girl in the ragged white dress. One sunny Sunday a couple who had just moved to the Borders, went for a country walk to a local beauty spot, near their new home. They were near a waterfall, when the wife saw a girl of about eleven years old, standing nearby. She was wearing, what the lady described as the dress of a Puritan. Soon the lady found the child tugging at her skirt, and she was quite afraid. She said to her husband that she wanted to go home, but as they walked home, she found the little girl walking alongside her. Several weeks later the lady's husband rang me to say that his wife had always been a very sensible lady, mother of three children, and very down-to-earth. She kept seeing this young girl around her, and was now terrified. Could I help? The family were not on the phone and this made things difficult, and also I had illness in my household, and could not manage to visit them I put them in touch with a local group, to at least give the lady some support and comfort in her predicament.
THE BRAMBER GHOSTS
Back in the 1980s, I was at a lunch party to celebrate my husband's parents' Golden Wedding. We had lunch in a Sussex pub, and during our visit I heard of some quite distressing little ghosts, who from time to time upset people in the pretty village. The village is Bramber, which is near Steyning, and it has a ruined castle and a disturbing history of ghostly children, who run after passers-by begging for food.
The story I heard was, that about eight-hundred years ago, Bramber Castle was owned by William de Breose, a very powerful lord who owned forty manors. King John suspected his loyalty and was afraid of the man's power. He demanded his children as hostages, and although they tried to escape to Ireland, they were captured and taken to Windsor Castle, and left to starve to death. The children are still said to be seen, particularly round about Christmas time, at dusk. The emaciated figure of a little girl and boy, are seen, dressed in rags, holding out their hands silently begging for food. Sometimes they seem to stare wistfully towards the direction of their now ruined former home, Bramber Castle. If anyone tries to speak to them, they just vanish. A traditional ghost story? Perhaps, but where did the idea originate. I haven’t been back to Bramber since that one occasion, but hopefully one day I will follow it up.
THE CHILD IN THE MEADOW
In a case we investigated in Edinburgh in 1995, I actually saw some of the mischief created by a spirit child, or at least that was what I was told by a young medium.
I got a call from two young men sharing a ground floor flat. I was told that things were moving about, there was persistent ringing of the door-bell and telephone, and when either of them went to the door there was nobody there. The men also said that they kept on losing tweezers, and a pair of hairdressing scissors had come along the hearth all by itself. The video had changed channel all by itself while they were in the middle of watching a film. The young men, Charles and Bruce, said that their cat was behaving strangely, and I saw this for myself on my first visit to their flat. The cat, a lovely ginger lady called Mimi, came into the bedroom, as though to show us around, and then she shot out of the room backwards at high speed! I also heard that sometimes she tried to shoot out the closed kitchen window, as though she was being chased. She was normally a placid friendly animal, her owners said, but sometimes she seemed to be watching something or someone, and then she would flee.
I listened to Charles and Bruce, and we examined the rooms where all sorts of phenomena had occurred. I decided that if they were agreeable, a medium might be helpful in this case. They were delighted with the prospect and asked me to invite whoever I thought would be suitable. Angela, a young girl in her twenties, had offered her services in cases a few weeks before, so I decided to let her try her ability in this flat.
We picked the girl up in the centre of Edinburgh on the day, and drove her to the flat on the outskirts of the town. She assured me that she didn't know the district well and had never met the flat mates. She meditated briefly, and then said she had met a little girl making a daisy chain in the meadow where the block of flats now stood. Now I remember that area of Edinburgh when I was a child, and it was farm fields, and there certainly was a meadow in that area. The little girl told Angela that she liked the pussycat, and she only wanted to play with it, but it kept running away! At that stage Angela had met Mimi, but had not witnessed her fast reversing, or her rushing at the closed kitchen window. As usual I had told her nothing about the phenomena experienced in the flat.
The little girl said that she was puzzled by the house, which was sometimes there and sometimes not. She didn't like the old man who lived there, but she did like playing with the "pricky things", and sometimes borrowed them to play with in the meadow.
I met the neighbour in the flat opposite, who had lived there since the block was built in the late 1960s. She established that an elderly couple had lived in the flat since it was built, the lady had died the previous summer; having been bedridden for about six years. The old man had stayed on until he went into hospital the previous summer, and had died in December 1994. The house was then sold to Charles and Bruce. The old man had got very grumpy and difficult towards the end, I heard. I also was told that he and his wife had had the same problems with the doorbell, from the day he fitted it.
Angela saw the old man, but didn't have any actual contact with him, however she managed to get the child to promise to leave the cat in peace, and also the men's property alone.
All I can say is that Charles and Bruce had very little to report, when I phoned them the next week. All was still quiet a fortnight later. I have not heard from them again, and assume that was the end of their mischievous little ghost.
Another little ghost sighting was reported by my own grand children, in Inverness.
Abertarff House, said to be the oldest house in Inverness, is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Until recently it was run as an art gallery and studio by my son and daughter-in-law. Last autumn their daughter (11) and her cousin (10), along with a friend (11) saw something on the stairs. I got the story from the younger child at the time, and only last week heard her version from the 11-year old. They had all seen a little girl, wearing a long, grey old-fashioned dress. That was all I heard to begin with. I also heard from my daughter-in-law that two members of staff had had experiences in the building, but had not seen anything. One girl had felt a tug at her skirt while she was sweeping the stairs. The other girl had been very frightened when something tapped her on the shoulder, and she felt it was something aggressive. She was too scared to turn round, and gave up her job that day.
The story I heard from my 11-year-old grand-daughter (R) was that the little girl had blonde hair and was about her age. When asked what she was doing, the story became very interesting: the child was sitting beside a fireplace “up on the wall”. Evidently there are remains of old rooms, with no floors on the wall beside the stairs. I then heard that the ‘ghost child’ was sitting beside this fireplace with her teddy on her knee. Now either R was using her imagination because she couldn’t actually see what the child was holding or the era that she belonged to was later than 1901, when teddy bears became fashionable toys for children.
THE GHOST of ABERTARFF HOUSE
By Rosie Plowman Age 11
Issue 159 had a photograph of Abertarff House, Inverness on the front cover, and the ghost story on page 2. Rosie now tells the story of her experience in her own words. [NOT corrected by Editor Granny!]
Last summer my mum, Susan Plowman, a fully trained jeweller and painter, was renting an old building in Church Street, Inverness, called Abertarff House from the National Trust, and had moved her jewellery down there to sell.
Also that summer my cousins came up from Buckingham and we all decided to go to Inverness shopping. When we came back from shopping we went to Abertarff House for a rest. In Abertarff there was a long staircase to the top of the building, where there was a flat. So my younger cousin Jennifer Plowman and I went up to the flat. Also in Aberarff House was an old fireplace in the wall above the staircase. Jennifer and I decided to go back downstairs to the shop and on our way downstairs, Jennifer stopped to look at the fireplace with her new sunglasses. I asked what was wrong and she told me that she could see a sort of misty figure in the fireplace at the top of the staircase, and handed me over her glasses. I put them on and in the fireplace I saw a little girl with blonde hair and a Victorian dress on. She was playing with her doll, sitting dangling her legs from the fireplace. I felt a strange spooky feeling but I wasn’t scared. Me and Jennifer went back down stairs and told my mum. Rosie Plowman