This true story happened in 1968 in Hanwell, West London and features in ‘The Ghosts and Legends of Middlesex’ by Patsy Sorenti and Ricky Sorenti. It is repeated here as told to PATSY SORENTI by the informant Mr. Winn in 1996.
The daughter of the family, a young 11 year old by name of Pam was learning to play the piano. She was having lessons with a music teacher but needed a piano at home to practice on. Her parents looked around and eventually found one for sale inside a second hand shop. The shop specialised in house clearances when the owners of furniture had died or moved away and when the goods were no longer wanted or useful.
The piano was purchased and duly delivered. The house is a 1930s end terrace with a front room and with a parlour at the rear. The piano resided in the parlour, as the main family room was at the front. At first, all was well; Pam began to practice her scales and tunes as she had been taught and enjoyed using her new piano. However, as time went on, the family began noticing strange things happening: gas jets on the cooker and fire being turned on without being lit, closing the outer doors and not able to be opened because they became locked and other trivial occurrences, such as money and objects being put in strange places, all of which they put down to ‘absent-mindedness.’ These events happened over the course of several weeks without too much more noticeable activity and the family eventually settled down.
In the summer of that year the family decided to redecorate the parlour and so the piano was temporarily moved into the front room. This is when odd things really began to happen: the music holder on the piano would move of its own accord and the piano’s lid would open and close by itself. During this period the family were still being locked out and gas jets were being turned on and off. Pam’s parents decided to ignore this activity and entered a cycle of denial that anything was happening. However, this did not stop the ghost increasing its activities into something more terrifying. One weekend, Pam and her parents left to go away on holiday leaving Pam’s brother (Mr Winn) alone in the house. He was about to join the Royal Marines so could not join the rest of the family on the break. While he was staying alone in the house, the piano would play one solitary note all night and when he went to check, no one could be seen at the piano. He decided just to leave it alone, not touch it at all and wait until his parents returned.
When the rest of the family returned to the house in Hanwell Pam resumed her piano playing. By this time the piano had been returned to the parlour and apart from one or two odd incidents, nothing much happened, but in the autumn of 1968 Pam had the most terrifying experience: whilst lying in bed one night she felt an icy hand grip her throat and the bedroom curtains blew out without the windows being open. Still in denial, her parents believed that she had had a bad dream; it wasn’t until the mother eventually saw the ghost of an old man standing beside the piano one day that the family had to admit that the piano had something very strange wrong with it. Their father took it out into the back garden and burnt it on a bonfire and they were troubled no more.
In disbelief Mr Winn’s parents went to see the owner of the second hand shop. He told them that the piano had come from a house nearby where an old man had died. He was very fond of the piano and had kept it for many years. It was delivered to him by two old ladies who had moved into the house after the man’s death and they decided to keep the piano. The odd thing was that when the shop owner took delivery of the piano, he heard one of the ladies say to the other, ‘Will this be an end to the trouble now?’
PATSY LANGLEY has been interested in the paranormal since childhood, believing that one day the ‘supernatural’ will ‘slot’ into known physics and this may be possible some day with the investigations into quantum theory. A qualified accountant, she has been a teacher of geology and economics and a published author of four books: ‘The Highgate Vampire Casebook’, ‘Raining In My Heart (The Story of Buddy Holly)’, ‘Susan Chick – A Lady Of Bedfont’ and ‘The Ghosts And Legends Of Middlesex’ co-authored with her fiancé Ricky Sorenti. She is currently researching the Highgate case again with a view to a second edition of Vampire Casebook.She has one adult son and two grandchildren.
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