A Hang­ing Of­fence

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Reader Stories -

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

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