What is a ghost.?

This post may be a little odd for some people, and others may not like it- it all depends on what you believe in, but believe me when I say that I am securely strapped to the fence on this one. This post will only be for people to either tell me of their own belief, or their own opinions on the situation, because it was quite the confusing collection of circumstances.

When my step father left us, me, me mother and my younger brother moved into a tall, four story house that had been plonked onto the end of a row of terraces next to a river.
It was a relatively old house, but the only one on the row that wasn’t a listed building by a margin of a decade or so.
We lived in an area that was at one point, not such a happy place- there had been a workhouse across the road from us- a gargantuan building of misery, illness and drudgery that was unfortunately still fresh in the minds of some of the more elderly residents of our village. It was built in 1792 to house the poorest members of the town, but was expanded in 1834 as part of the Poor law Amendment act to house people from villages far and wide. People from as far away as Ireland were housed here, with nowhere else to go.


The nurses and children housed in the ”daycare” centre of the workhouse.

This act in essence, ended the ”pauper’s palace” view of the workhouses of the time, a place of safety in a time of need, as it had been said by some that this was place for people to go to be cared for when they were too lazy to work. (Some comparisons could be drawn with the overall view of those on benefits today.) The new workhouses separated all of its inmates, men, women and children, even the elderly, and all of those who were deemed able bodied were cast out, or set to work. This new amendment was built to make the workhouse the last desirable option for people (before the river..) and life there was very unpleasant, an idea to be so feared that people would look for any other means of work before consenting to being detained therein.

Oswestry1 morda workhouse

Looking as austere as it does, you could imagine this building on the set of Sleepy Hollow..


A sunny view that seems at odds with the building itself. The tree in this picture still stands in the garden of a home made inside the only surviving piece of the workhouse (The section with the window arches on the far right.) A school friend of mine lives there with his family.

In the later years of its existence (the 1800’s), a chapel was added to the workhouse as a place to bury those who died of old age, destitution or the diseases and infections that are common amongst people living in such close cohabitation..

morda workhouse - Chapel

The chapel built at the back of the workhouse, where those lost there could be tidied away…

The workhouse burned to the ground in 1982, and was demolished as a result.
Bricks from the structure of this edifice of poverty were used to make up the fireplace in the house that we moved into.
A housing estate was later built on the lands that once held the workhouse, and involved them digging up many of those buried there over the years and re-interring them elsewhere.
Does this remind anyone else of Poltergeist? You’d think they’d have learned by now!



Now.. I wrote about the workhouse above for a reason- It has become part of a small theory of mine in the events that followed.
We lived in this house quite happily for a long time and nothing odd or anything of note happened, although a friend who lived on the housing estate built on the old grounds reported a lot of odd things in her house.
The things that went on in our house only happened about four years ago, but are morbidly clear in my mind.
It started with seeing things moving out of the corner of my eye- it was me who noticed them at first, but I stayed quiet because my mother doesn’t like this sort of thing (It frightens her!). She’s a nurse who has seen a lot of odd stuff in her time, so the thought that something might be in our house was one that she happily shut out.
Things got more and more noticeable with time, and the figure of a man started appearing at the end of the hallway- a friend who was house sitting said that he’d seen him while we were away and that it had terrified his poor sister. The dogs became restless and would often stare down the hall and growl at nothing, and the figure appeared more and more often and at the height of activity things were pushed from the shelves in front of our eyes.
I would hear something moving and look up, as soon as I looked the movement would stop, but I would always catch the last of whatever it was, shaking in its place on the shelf.
I have no explanation for these events, and I’ve never really been sure if I believe in anything in particular, but these things always made me wonder.
My best friend has always been a sceptic, but I even found him wandering around checking behind the doors and curtains because he thought he’d seen someone in the house..

These events carried on for around six months, coming to a head towards the end of the ‘happenings’ with a lot of activity- my mother was terrified and would bundle up on the couch with the dogs, refusing to look down the hall towards the front door. Nobody would go into the kitchen when the lights were off, and people avoided being in the house on their own.
Then, just like that- it all stopped, and we never saw the man again.


The fireplace at my mother’s, built with the bricks from the old Workhouse.

It was definitely a man- you could tell by the shadow-like figure, and all who had seen him agreed, but none of us knew what had happened.
It was a little while after this that I found out about the workhouse bricks in our chimney (see above) and life in the building that had once dominated the horizon through my bedroom window, now covered in little brick houses. It was the general consensus of all involved that the ‘happenings’ had been the work of a ghost.

I’ve spoken of Guillermo Del Toro’s work before, and the way that he often describes ghosts is a striking one. Apologies for using a quote from a previous post, but it does  describe something heartbreakingly beautiful..

When something terrible happens, sometimes it leaves a trace, a wound that acts as a knot between two time lines. It’s like an echo repeated over and over, waiting to be heard. Like a scar… that begs for a caress to relieve it. You are a good mother. Your pain gives you strength, it will guide you. But only you know how far you are willing to go to find your son.  You hear, but don’t listen. Seeing is not believing. It’s the other way around. Believe, and you will see.
From Del Toro’s ‘The Orphanage’- 2007

”What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.”
From ‘The Devil’s Backbone’- 2001

”Do you believe in ghosts? .. When a corpse is left out the elements wither it, dessicate it, twisting it into a distorted figure that’s barely recognisable as a human being. A ghost is an emotion bent out of shape, condemned to repeat itself time and time again, until it rights the wrong that was done.”
From Del Toro’s ‘Mama’- 2013

Del Toro quite obviously believes in ghosts and things linked to pain in the past- a lot of ghost folklore would agree with this, apparitions of tortured souls forever doomed to repeat their suicide after their lover rejected them, or the last steps they took before a murder. There are examples of it in almost every old house and Inn in Britain.
I’m not saying that this is what happened to us- These sorts of things only ever seem to happen in films or to ”somebody else”, but we are someone else, to everyone else, so is there a chance that this shadow was something trapped, forever linked to the bricks of the terrible building that housed so many of the destitute over the last three centuries.?
If it wasn’t something odd, why did so many people see it, even if it hadn’t been mentioned to them?
What do you think about all of it? Has anything of this sort happened to you? Have you seen anything unexplainable? What do you believe?
I can’t wait to hear from you!


6 thoughts on “What is a ghost.?

  1. When I was young, my Aunt, Uncle and baby cousin lived in a cottage in Breadsall.
    Their home was apparently haunted.
    There were several stories of hearing footsteps in other rooms or upstairs when everyone present in the cottage were all in the same room together.
    We used to have a black lab called Bruce, and he would growl and bark seemingly at nothing if we ever took him.
    There is one story my Aunt told that sticks with me though.
    My Aunt was stood in the kitchen, washing pots, and my cousin was sat on the sofa in the living room which looks into the kitchen. All of a sudden he looked towards my Aunt, pointed, and said “man.” When my Aunt turned around expecting to see my Uncle, she said there was a figure of a man stood behind her instead with no face. It then suddenly vanished.
    I never liked being left alone in that cottage. I never whitnessed anything myself other than the sound of footsteps upstairs, but then that could perhaps be explained in other ways.

    • That’s incredible!
      And also terrifying! My mum had an odd dream like that where my aunt was pushing a pram with a baby with no face inside..
      Some scary things go on in the world!

  2. Hey Kit,

    I enjoyed the read!!!!

    I’m going to to say from the start that I don’t believe in ghosts, principally because I just don’t see how they could exist. Anyway, my story…

    I live on an old JL RA army camp that trained soldiers for WW1 through to the 60’s (when the camp was closed). Just to set the scene, the near by wood is full of trenches, pill boxes and MG nests, old bridges and obstacle courses. The house I lived in used to be that of the Padre (religious figurehead for soldiers) (I don’t really believe in religion either but it may have offered some interest).

    So in summary, the majority of the camp has been destroyed apart from the married housing and an old firing range. There was a number of unexplainable events that occured over the course of the last few years.

    Apart from the general creaks and groans of an old house, the first notable experience was finding my toothbrush snapped in half on the floor in the bathroom. Not very scary I must admit but the way in which it was snapped was strange. If I were to snap it, the snap would occur in a stress position on the thin end of the neck, however this was a perfectly straight cut through the bulbous end of the toothbrush (the part that would go in the palm of your hand).

    So moving on from this I started noticing shapes and shadows in the house. To set the scene again – our hallway had a mirror at one end and a door to the lounge at the other. While walking down the hallway with only the lounge light on, I looked in the mirror and noticed, in the reflection, the light from the lounge was being blocked by a black featureless shape. The only visible light was from the top corner of the door which made the shape of a shoulder but the height would suggest this “person” would be at least 6ft 5″ tall. The second time I saw this shape was through the gap between and open door and the doorframe as I walked past. I caught the glimse of a black figure just standing in the middle of the room. This figure looked like it was wearing a cloak but it was impossible to make out features. As I said before-I dont really believe in ghosts, so being the fearless guy I am I just walked into the room to find nothing there. Still to this day, I don’t know what it was I saw and how it could have blocked objects from view (e.g I couldn”t see the light hanging down because it was so tall and blocked it from view).

    We had always joked about ghosts in the house as every now and again we get very strong smells of tobacco or cigarette smoke. I’d like to make a point that no one in my household smokes – we have two athsma sufferers so it would be infeasible. So there’s no chance of the smell being ingrained into our furniture or anything like that. Anway, this is where my girlfriend came into it. She stopped over one day and we were sitting next to each other on the sofa. The next thing she goes “wow can you smell that smoke?!” I’m sitting next to her and can’t smell a thing…

    So wierd stuff happens like the feeling of people blowing in our ears. But this final point takes the biscuit…

    I am a musician and an allround music nerd so I have my own recording equipment and professional recording software. My girlfriend is a singer and is useless with technology – especially a piece of software as complex as ProTools. So. Shes trying to record herself singing, accidently hits the record button for a few seconds and stops it. When she plays it back there is a strange noise on the recording. I do a bit of gain boosting, EQing and Denoising to bring it out more…low and behold…there is a voice on the clip. But not just any voice. The voice is that of an old, posh sounding male – extremelly unfamiliar to the way me and my family speak. I’m not sure what you knowledge of typical Army officers is like but they were generally from wealthy backgrounds which could explain the posh voice. Anyway, more importantly, what did the voice say? Well it could be one of two things…

    “I don’t want her here”
    “I don’t want to hear”

    How horrible is that to hear?!?!

    Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! These events haven’t really effected my daily life, made me nervous around the house or made me believe in ghosts any more than I did. If you’d like to hear the recording I believe I have a copy lying around somewhere! Writing this has certainly made my wait for the train a lot more interesting!!!

    Cheers, Jon

    • Oh wow- this was absolutely awesome, such a wonderful story to hear! Thank you for taking the time to write it all out!
      It sounds like a building with a lot of history- even if you don’t believe In ghosts, my Nanny says that the walls of a building can ‘record’ or hold sounds, only to play them back later.
      We both heard a cough coming from the hallway of her empty house, and she was just like ”oh, the noises again”.
      I’d LOVE to hear the recording, if you do have it? It would be incredible.
      The toothbrush incident sounds so strange, and I’m sure your family had no reason to do it! I’d have been terrified of the figure you saw, especially with it being so tall, and strong enough to block out the light. The one that I saw was more like a shadow that had been brought from the wall into a 3D reality.. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

      Again, thank you so much for posting this! It is so greatly appreciated! xxxxx

  3. Thank you! Reading it all back, it does sound pretty creepy! I did ask around and no one knew anything about the toothbrush – probably the most worrying out of all the incidents!

    Here’s a link to my google drive where you should be able to download the mp3 directly. The accent is the thing to listen to most as, eventhough I would love an accent like that, I am definately not that posh 😦


    • I think i replied to this once, but I’m not sure it sent, so I’ll sent it again for good measure!
      That sounds recording is amazing! It does sound like a well brought up old man, there’s almost no mistaking it.
      I don’t know what I’d have thought had I picked that up in the same room, but I’d have certainly never gone back in there alone again- not for a while!
      The toothbrush thing would have been unnerving too- when things were moving around in my house, there was always a weird feeling along with it, and not one that would be easy to describe- uneasy but not dangerous..?
      Anyway- thank you so much for sending it to me, it’s so fantastic to hear of other experiences! Makes me feel less mad ^__^ xxxx

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