A Hanging Offence
During the Second World War, when I was about seven, my family lived in a big house that had a large empty room with a decorative beam running across the middle of the ceiling. One time, when my soldier uncle was on leave, he came to stay with us. My mother put a stretcher bed in the back part of the empty room.
Following his visit, I was allowed to sleep in the room as a treat. During the night, I woke in a terrified state. When my mother came in to calm me down, I told her that I had seen a man wearing an overcoat bobbing up and down from the beam. Mum consoled me by saying it was a nightmare.
Nine years later, when I was 16 and after we had moved out of the house, my mother changed her story. While travelling on the bus, an old local had sat down next to her and started a conversation. He told her he’d noticed that we’d moved from the haunted house. When my mother queried his description, he told her that the original owner had committed suicide in the house – by hanging himself from the beam in the large room. It was no nightmare – I had seen a ghost.
BY KATHLEEN PERKS