Growing up with my dad has always been a weird experience. He’s a very rational and down to Earth guy but all his life he’s been ‘odd’ when it come to the paranormal.
From an early age he’d tell me stories of foxes on the stairs and old women under the bed that frightened and delighted me in equal measure and then one day things changed.
I was a young boy on holiday with my parents and grandparents when my gran, who’d had a sangria too many, admitted to me the stories my dad used to tell me were ‘true’ and that when dad was young he and his two siblings believed their house was haunted.
Of course I was enthralled -what little boy wouldn’t be? – but as I grew older and more sceptical I became convinced it was a family joke despite my family’s arguments to the contrary.
My dad has maintained throughout my life that he’s seen or heard things and my sister consistently backed him up – at one point when she was a toddler she refused to come into the dining room because of the dog in the corner with the glowing eyes.
Of course it was all nonsense, neither my mum or myself ever saw anything and I remained convinced it was an elaborate joke at my expense.
That is until we moved to a new house when I turned 18. In my time living there I heard and saw things that I still can’t explain.
I maintain unequivocally that they were not ghosts and that the only thing that goes bump in the night are pipes but there was definitely something odd happening in that red brick building.
The house always made odd noises, but that’s to be expected in any house, in particular you could hear what sounded exactly like chairs being pulled across the kitchen floor but when you went into the kitchen the chairs were all fine.
You could also hear what sounded like the study room swivel chair spinning when no one was in the room and once or twice the sound of the adjoining wall between the study and the lounge being kicked.
As I say though this is all pretty harmless stuff with plenty of reasonable explanations like pipes in the wall or under the floor.
And, despite my dad and sister’s insistence, I never heard the coughing at night, footsteps (usually) or the ominous knock they claim came regular as clock work every night at 3am.
However I did have two ‘paranormal’ experiences.
The first was when I was left home alone while my parents went shopping. I’d been sat in our small lounge, a tiny room with a sofa and TV, when I went to the kitchen to get a cup of tea.
On my way back out of the corner of my eye I saw my dad sat in the main lounge in the dark. Thinking nothing of it I went back to my small room to watch TV and enjoy a lovely cup of ruby lee.
That’s when there was a knock at the front door and down the hall I could see my mum struggling with shopping bags through the glass in the hall.
Getting up to help her I opened the front door and was surprised to see my dad there. Slightly nonplussed I asked: ‘How did you get there so quick?’
He was as confused as I was and explained that he’d gone with my mum. ‘Then who was the man in the lounge?’ I asked.
They both laughed and asked if I’d seen Alf, a ‘spirit’ they claimed had moved into the house when I left for university. My dad claimed to have seen him outside a number of times but both my mum and sister had met him in the lounge.
Again it was my sister who ‘Alf’ took a shine to, supposedly appearing to her in the lounge numerous times. As for me, I never saw Alf again and dismissed the old bloke sat in the lounge as nothing but a trick of the eye.
I wish I could dismiss the second incident so easily.
By this time we’d lived in the house a number of years, my mum had passed away, my dad was living with his girlfriend five nights a week and my sister moved to university.
I’d been living in the house by myself for a number of months with nary a peep from the supposed spooks who followed my family around.
Then one night I got unlucky. I was in the kitchen cooking when I heard the front door handle. It was broken and always made a distinct noise when opened.
Guessing it was my dad come home early I shouted out and then I heard the sound of the door being slammed shut and someone large and heavy running up stairs.
Terrified at the sound I grabbed my phone and fled out of the back door into the back garden, calling my friend who lived down the road. After a good five minutes of me babbling he calmed me down and convinced me to go back inside.
Inside I found nothing. I checked every room and eventually my friend arrived with his dad. We all found nothing which is perhaps the worst thing to find when you’re expecting something.
After that night I never heard or saw anything again, there’s a half remembered nightmare about a door banging in the middle of the night but as I say the rest of my time in the house was spook free.
Unfortunately my dad and sister continued to see spooks and my dad had his own run in with the thing on the stairs, while my sibling refused to stay in it by herself overnight.
We’ve left that house now, they live in an old country house and still hear the knocking at night, apparently they hear children’s laughter now as well, while I live in a flat in the city.
No ghosts to report so far…
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.