Thursday, 9 August 2012

Strange Days Have Found Us

I've always wondered what I would do should I chance to see a ghost. I'd like to think that I'd be fearless and confront it head on, perhaps even try to interview it for inclusion in my next book!

However, the probability is that I would turn heel and get out of there as quickly as possible.

Indeed there was an occasion when I think I might have experienced a ghost. I say experienced as opposed to "seen" because few people actually do see ghosts. You might sense, smell or hear a ghost, but a full blown materialisation is a rare occurrence indeed. Indeed, seeing a ghost is as rare as the two sides in the coalition government being actually agreeing on something!

So, to return to the day that experienced a ghost.

I'd love to begin by writing "It was a dark and stormy night." But it wasn't. It was a bright and sunny August morning in 2003 and I was at Rait Castle near to Inverness.

Now there are several things I should say about Rait Castle lest any of my readers should decide to pay it a visit.

First off, it's one of the most difficult places to get to I've ever encountered. I drove round for over an hour trying to get close to it before finally giving up the ghost (he he I couldn't resist that), abandoning the car and heading off across the fields on foot.

Secondly, it's little more than a ruin surrounded by farmland and woodland. In fact hollow shell is a more accurate description.

So there I was traipsing across the fields as the ominous walls of the old castle (or what remains of them) got closer.

On arrival I started to explore the ruin and had got to a corner where there was a stone stairway that went nowhere. Suddenly the temperature dropped alarmingly, and I mean A L A R M I N G L Y . Then i heard footsteps ascending the staircase above me. Going round there was not only no one there, but there were also only about three steps before the staircase ended in a jagged drop.

And then.  I began to feel absolutely terrified and I mean T E R R I F I E D. Why do I keep doing these capitals?

I have never felt fear like it before or since and, I can honestly say, I couldn't get out of there quick enough.

It was a good mile or so back to the car over the open fields and all the way I felt that I was being followed and I had to keep looking over my shoulder, convinced that I was being followed.

Once back at the car I drove away as quickly as possible but it was a good two hours before the feeling of dread left me.

To this day I can't explain my experience. There is, honestly, no natural explanation for it. It just happened.
Which is why when people say they've seen a ghost or they've felt a ghost I rarely shake my head in disbelief. Because I know that things can happen and, even if we can't explain them away, they can terrifying and confusing in equal measure.

Till the next time ... Good hauntings.


  1. Hi, that sounds like a really spooky experience! Last November, we did our very first ghost tour in Ruthin Gaol and on our way home to Cardiff, we stumbled across your book, Haunted Britain, in a Little Chef after a toilet break. Soon as we got home, we read it and absolutely loved it. When we saw the entry about South Stack lighthouse in North Wales, we couldn't believe it. We'd spent a few hours driving around that area - in fact we must've driven on the cliff right above the lighthouse and we had no idea of its existence or its haunting. To this day we're kicking ourselves for not exploring it! :D

    But your book inspired us to visit some of the places you featured and now, just over a year later from reading it, we have an amateur ghost hunting show on YouTube - though admittedly we get lost more often than we find anything paranormal - and we've just started writing articles for Haunted Magazine based on some of the locations we've been to. We even spent three days in Cornwall ghost hunting and in the spring plan to head up to Edinburgh to explore its spooky history.

    So we'd just like to say thank you for inspiring us to visit these places.

  2. Hi

    That's really kind of you to take the trouble to say that. I'm glad the book inspired you and I hope you're enjoying your explorations.