Thursday, 19 May 2011

How I got interested in Ghosts

I got interested in ghosts quite by accident. It began as a hobby, but has since spiralled and now my house is packed with books about ghosts, files of inerviews I have conducted with people who have seen ghosts and photos of haunted places.

It all began, I recall, some 20 years ago at the Molesworth Arms in Wadebridge, Cornwall. I am an historian and my research often takes me away from home. That trip was to look into sites linked to King Arthur in the West Country. Of course all the places I needed to visit closed around 5pm and even the open air sites are pointless to visit once the sun goes down. Evenings away from home all on your own aren’t much fun. There is only so much television you can watch or books you can read.

Anyway, there I was in the Molesworth Arms ordering a drink and an evening meal. I was flicking through the menu and saw at the back a short history of the building. It mentioned that the pub was haunted, or rather its courtyard was, by a coach and four horses. I couldn’t resist. I had to go and look. Then I asked the barmaid about it. She confirmed the ghost, and told me about another haunted site in the town. On my way back to the B&B where I was staying, I took the time to visit that other site as well.

That started me off. Rather than twiddle my thumbs or get bored of an evening away from home, I decided to investigate ghosts and hauntings. There are a surprising number of them about. Wherever my work took me, I would manage to turn up one or two. I got to carrying a camera with me to photograph the haunted room, hall or road. And I began noting down conversations with the people who had seen the ghosts as well.

Soon, as word spread among my work colleagues and friends about my hobby, people began sending me newspaper cuttings about spooky events. And then friends of friends would start to phone up with their stories. And emails from complete strangers would pop up on my computer screen telling me about the ghosts and phantoms local to where they live.

It began as a hobby to pass the time when away from home, but has now become a more time consuming effort.

This book recounts my adventures in and around Sunderland when looking for ghosts, phantoms and spectres. I would like to thank all the people who have helped me with my enquiries and investigations. Some are named in this book, others preferred to remain anonymous - which is fair enough. I must particularly thank Alan Tedder who also has an interest in the supernatural and who gave me many of his research notes and documents along with permission to use them in my investigations.

There are plenty of ghosts and other paranormal events in the Sunderland area, and most of the haunted places are interesting to visit in their own right. I would recommend anyone who wants to know more to get out and about the area with this book in hand.

You never know, you might see one of the spooks for yourself.


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