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Personal Paranormal Experiences: 3. The Hidden Door/Ghost Girl

For a time, after moving away from Martello Cottages in Hythe and the Shadow Hat Man and the stair-chaser, I lived a life unperturbed by paranormal goings on. I lived in two houses after that which were calm, or empty.

There was the time mother and I went to view a house outside of Folkestone, we had both entered an upstairs backroom separately and felt something wrong waiting there. It was only when we returned to the car that I said to mum ‘I didn’t like the back room.’ She had looked at me in some surprise and said, ‘Yes, it was the wardrobe wasn’t it?’

We both knew something was lingering there and so drew a big line through that property.

It wasn’t until we returned to the village where I was born that I had my next set of experiences.

First Ghost

In mother’s typical fashion, I found myself moving into a House that was something of a wreck. In truth it was more than a House, but had been a House with a large shop extension which had been a hairdressers. Let’s call it 109 Dymchurch Street.

On moving in everything had been left there as if they had been trading up till the day before. All the tools of the trade were scattered about, cutters, mirrors; even the massive beehive hair dryers. Food was still in the kitchen and I distinctly remember the conservatory at the rear of the property was full of wine making equipment including demijohns full of a homemade plum wine which reeked of vinegar as it was poured down the drains.

At this time I could have been no older than 13. It was quite exciting for me, the House had a lot of character. Built between 1850s-1920s it was part of what would have been a much larger residence now split into 3 terrace houses. Between 105 and 107 there was a huge archway leading to the rear of the properties, giving access to the courtyard gardens, making the building look like an old coach House.

As an aside, Dymchurch itself is a lovely and very old seaside village. Situated between the channel and the expansive Romney Marsh. It has a remarkable history for smuggling, its long, flat, golden beaches being perfect to beach upon. Every building in the town is old, the Romney Marsh

itself being dredged and reclaimed from the sea by the Romans, a huge wall was built to keep the sea out leading to the well known local phrase, “Serve God, Honour the King. But first maintain the Wall.”

Courtesy Paul Nash

Nothing much happened in the first month of

living there. But it was…odd. Within the first month the board walls within the shop were torn down to reveal the brick underneath. It had been so cheaply boarded over that it simply couldn't stay and mother had many plans of what she wanted to do in order to convert the shop front into a spacious living area.

On tearing down the boards the first shock was to see the brickwork covered in a type of slimy grease. The smell was quite atrocious, like the remains of a roasting pan after a Sunday dinner. More than that this greasy substance had congealed in places into thick yellow globules with red specks and streaks in it which was unmistakably blood.

Now, there was nothing sinister in this. It was merely revolting. You see, before it was a hairdressers, the shop had long been Dymchurch’s Butchers and Abattoir. The archway a few doors down being the entry way in which stock and livestock would be carted through and penned up in the courtyard behind; a large drain set in the centre being a runoff for the animal blood as they were slaughtered.

The owners of the hairdressers had done a very cheap job of covering up the years of mess left behind by such a trade. Instead of clearing away all the years of grime, they had boarded over it.

I mention this because it explains what we found next.

On tearing down the boards on the outer side of the shop mum uncovered a door. A large wooden 7 or 8 foot wooden door which had been boarded on both sides, covered in the same grime which bespattered the walls inside. What was so odd was that the door had not simply been removed and bricked up or even used, it was quite stunning under the muck and must have been the butcher’s original entryway.

Mother’s first response was, quite naturally, to clean it up and keep it as a feature. It was only after it was uncovered did things start to get strange.

Mother heard it first. Always a light sleeper she was woken at 3.30am by a whistling and then the rapping of someone knocking downstairs. She dressed and quickly went to investigate, looking out of the downstairs window to see who was outside. No one.

This became a nightly occurrence. At 3.30am every morning that same chirpy tune whistled on the night wind, the familiar rap-a-rap-rap of knuckles on wood, and every time; no one there.

Our main, modern door was not made of wood but pvc, the only wooden panelling someone could knock on was that old giant wooden door we had uncovered. No longer buried under plasterboard, the phantom visitor came calling morning after morning, knocking on the door as they had undoubtedly done in their daily routine when they were alive.

Now you may call this fancy, of course. My mother’s partner at the time, a stalwart man with an occupation in construction and very little imagination said she was just imagining things or dreaming it. In his mind there was no such thing as ghosts and even if there was he had never seen one. It was on my mother’s insistence on waiting up for the knocker one night that changed his mind.

At the same time the mystery knocker came, an invisible hand rapping out the audible tattoo, immaterial lips whistling out a vocal tune. His face on hearing such a thing was that of perplexity coupled with disbelief and a downright refusal that his world view should forever be changed.

The door was removed. Destroyed. The hole bricked over. No more knocking came and we, mostly, slept well from then on.

Second Ghost

Only once did I witness something there that shook me to the core.

A small incident really and anyone could say I was dreaming or that a dream had slipped into my waking mind. Ever the pragmatist that is what I said to myself; but it has remained with me.

My bedroom was a small affair on the first floor. It had a domed ceiling with a skylight, but little more space than for a bed, a desk and a wardrobe. I loved it though, it was very cosy. The door opened onto the top of a flight of stairs which led down to a hallway. To the right coming out of my door there were a couple more steps up which led along a hall to mothers room and a spare room.

Being that my room was so small, the bed head came right up to the opening of the door on one side and a window overlooking the courtyard on the other. There was but the space of a few feet for the door to open, then I had my desk against the wall under the skylight which almost butt up against the side of my bed. I explain this to show that there was no way anyone could just pass through my room. Not only that, but after the events of the Shadow Hat Man, I had always slept with my bedroom door both closed and locked.

One night as I slept I rolled over, being a restless sleeper and briefly awoke. I was facing the side of my bed with the door but next to me was a figure in white. Not dressed in white, but made up of white. A young girl probably in her early twenties, just gazing down at me. She wore period dress as if she’d just stepped out of a Jane Austin novel, bonnet included, but all was devoid of colour as if she were drawn in pencil on a sheet of paper. I can clearly remember the curls of her hair, the smile of her mouth as she just stared at me.

It was over in an instant. I reached up automatically to the light switch above my bed head and slammed it on and she was gone. I was alone in the room, the door still locked, darkness poured in from the windows. Peeking out my door the hallway stood silent. Checking my clock it was, not long past 3am.

I did not see her again, and though a little shaken I didn’t feel afraid of her. There was no menace to her, I just got the impression she was passing through and had spotted me lying there. But I have still continued to lock my door.

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