My Gran’s house was lived in by her parents, and they had it from new. It was just a three bedroom red brick thing in the Cotswolds, built to house factory workers for local industry. My mother lived across the road from my Gran, so I spent a lot of time there as a child, and my bedroom was there through my teens and college years.
Gran’s house was haunted. The back bedroom (which was my bedroom) had been let out to a lodger when my great grandparents were newly married. He used to wander about up there in his socks. He was clearly besotted with great Granny, and he changed my family, introducing Tennyson and other literature to their lives. Said lodger went off to south America, and sent back a broach made from a humming bird’s head. There were letters, then he disappeared. Family legend has it that he very likely died at Gallipoli. Some time later, the sound of his socked feet padding about the room, returned. Lying in bed at night, I’ve heard him pottering about. Knowing who it was, he never scared me.
Then there was the business with the piano. Gran’s piano was positioned so that you had your back to the door. I was told I had an active imagination, but sometimes I had the feeling something was stood in the doorway, watching me. Had the feeling been there all the time, I might have agreed it was pure paranoia, but the presence came and went. Gran did not have much money so I did without heating when I could. I remember being in there one day when it was really cold, and struggling to warm my hands up. The presence in the doorway moved down the room (the only time it every did, and I felt it keenly.) It put something around me, and I became warm enough to play. It was a very peculiar experience.
Sometimes, going into the house there would be that distinctive Monday wash smell. Boiling soap is quite unmistakable. Gran and I both smelled it on a number of occasions, when no one had been doing any washing at all. There seemed to be no rational explanation, but we felt it was her mother’s presence in the house, echoing.
When my great uncle died, I had a fleeting vision of a young man stood in my Gran’s bedroom, which perplexed me, although when I told her, she said that had been his bedroom back when he had lived in the house.
Strangeness runs in my female bloodline. I grew up with stories of ghosts, premonitions and psychic insight. It meant that when I perceived things myself, it didn’t frighten me. I still talk to Gran, and to Great Grandmother, even though both of them are dead. I don’t tend to get direct answers, but sometimes I have a very keen sense of them watching over my shoulder, not always approving of what I do, but with me nonetheless.