BARRY McCANN wonders whether ghost sightings sometime happen at certain times of the day and night…
Traditionally, ghostly phenomena are not subject to any timetable. Manifestations or noises just happen as and when they choose with no rationale to reason why. But there are examples of hauntings that do clock in at a certain set time.
White Bull, Ribchester, Lancashire
For example, the White Bull in Ribchester, Lancashire, reports a strange and unpleasant atmosphere descending on the place around 10 o’clock at night if the bar area is fairly quiet.
This has been attributed to the building’s previous life as a gaol serving a nearby gibbet where the condemned were kept for their last night alive.
If a final plea for clemency had not been answered by 10pm, it meant none would be coming and the collective despair of the doomed prisoners has resided and kept time ever since.
However, there is no apparent explanation for a more disturbing presence that haunted a house in the Lancashire coastal town of Cleveleys for six months during 1999, and one that certainly worked by the clock.
According to investigator Stuart Leadbetter, an unnamed man in his late twenties suddenly began experiencing paranormal activity in his home which commenced after 9.30, and which was witnessed by others who happened to be visiting.
Doors would open and bang shut by themselves, the TV set switch itself on and off while a nearby lamp flickered, and other objects in house mysteriously move.
The stairs seemed to be central to the activity with the sound of running footsteps and a cold breeze felt on them while the top and bottom were warm. The owner’s dog was also seen to bark at the stairs and offer its paw to someone unseen. Then, around midnight, the activities would cease and the house became quiet again.
One night in September the owner had some friends around when, at the usual time, they were disturbed by the sound of running up the stairs and decided to investigate. They found the stairs in the grip of an icy wind and they continued up to the bedroom. He called on the presence to make itself known by sitting on the bed, and a depression promptly appeared on it as if sat upon by someone invisible.
With their nerve gone, the group beat a hasty retreat to the house next door, from where they could hear the footsteps frantically running on the stairs. Clearly something had to be done.
The owner contacted his uncle who came round with a member of a nearby Fleetwood church he knew. The church member readout passages from the Bible in the house. Whether it was the words themselves or the strength of the faith behind them, it was enough to persuade the presence to cease or move on. The house has apparently been clean since.
How common are ghost sightings by the clock?
So how common is it for a ghost to apparently manifest the same pattern of hours night after night? Some hauntings can be subject to certain conditions, particularly those attributed to the stone tape theory. It could be that it is the conditions themselves that are time dependant rather than the paranormal activity they incant.
Or maybe some ghosts can clock on and clock off.