Who was that?

One evening, maybe it was 1950 or 1951, my wife, my mother-in-law and I were paying one of our fairly regular visits to friends of ours, Bob and Belle Pope at their home in Hampden Street. We chatted about events of the times, recent holidays and the affairs of our friends and families. We had played some light-hearted games of cards and enjoyed a few biscuits and cups of coffee and, as a fresh jug of coffee was needed, I set off to replenish our supply.

I went down the old-fashioned lobby and crossed the large dining-room/kitchen to the scullery/kitchen at the back of the house. There I made a fresh jug of hot coffee, put out the light and re-traced my steps across the dining-room/kitchen to the lobby. As I went through the doorway into the lobby I paused as a question came in to my mind…’who was that sitting in the chair near the fireplace?’ I knew that the room had been empty apart from myself. I shook my head and carried on to the living room, jug in hand. ‘What’s the matter, Ron?’ said my wife’s mother as I entered the room, ‘Are you alright?’

‘Yes,’ I said cheerily, ‘I’m fine.’ Then our friend Belle looked up at me, turning to her husband she said ‘He’s seen the Old Lady, haven’t you?’ I then explained that I couldn’t say that I had seen anything really and went on to describe the question that I had asked myself as I left the kitchen. As I wondered again ‘who was that sitting in the chair near the fireplace?’ the hairs on the back of my neck stood up on end.

‘Yes,’ affirmed Belle ‘he’s seen the Old Lady,’ then she and Bob told us that they had ‘seen’ a little old lady many times over the years in their house. They had no idea who she was, but weren’t concerned as no harm had ever come of the ‘sightings’.

That was nearest I ever came to seeing a ghost, but whenever I recount and re-live the experience of that night long ago, I still get goose pimples and the hairs on the back of my neck never fail to stand on end.

By Ron Horsley