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Ever had your neighbours complain about the noise? If you’ve ever been young and reckless, or lived in shared student accommodation, the chances are that you probably have.

Not me. Even as a student my nights were an unrelenting spiral of solitude and despair; hours and hours of crushing loneliness punctuated only by an occasional fit of sobbing.

If, however (and it’s an ‘if’ bigger than Westminster Abbey), I ever did get invited to a social gathering of any kind, I could only dream of thinking of an excuse as brilliant and audacious as this for keeping the whole street awake.

Despite an ever increasing pile of wine and cider bottles building up in her back garden, young mother Leanne Fennell (pictured below dressed as an X-Rated Sgt Bilko) insisted that a poltergeist is responsible for the noise pollution rather than her party lifestyle. Ms Fennell claimed that the fun-loving ghoul would turn the music up to full volume when she was fast asleep in bed, and then throw cans of beer into the garden. What? It could happen.

Surprisingly, no one was buying this version of events and she was soon turfed out of her council house and ordered to pay a hefty fine.

Despite commendable defiance in the face of mounting evidence against her, Fennell let herself down by admitting on her Facebook page that “I love to party with my mates, well, the ones who can keep up with me that is.” Her defence, far from watertight to begin with, was shattered and Hull magistrates court, the highest legal power there is, found Fennell guilty of four breaches of her noise abatement notice.

The Metro reported that “Council Officers also seized four televisions, four DVD players and a CD player, which will now be destroyed”, probably in a manner so cold and brutal it would have made the SS seem like the Samaritans. Isn’t that a pretty pointless punishment anyway? It’s not like she won’t figure out how to make noise using other means. It’s like punishing a serial thief by hiding their swag bag.

Anyway, maximum points to Leanne for effort but this serves as a chilling reminder that the ghosts will always find you out.

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As a result of the heat wave currently engulfing most of the UK, Looking For Ghosts felt an almost unnatural urge to get outside and get some sun on our faces. With our sallow complexions currently resembling custard as the closest colour match, it’s about bloody time.

So we headed for Highgate, a leafy, affluent North London suburb and, somewhat fortuitously, a haven for ghostly activity. How much fear we’d experience on a sunny Saturday lunchtime was unclear, but we figured it would be somewhere between “very little fear” and “no fear whatsoever”.

We noticed our first point of interest minutes after leaving the station. Ascending a steep pathway, stopping halfway up to peer through the foliage, we observed an abandoned train station in the mid-distance. This was originally built as part of London Underground’s Northern Heights project, but development was cancelled during the Second World War. Now the station stands empty, barely visible amidst mounds of twisting bracken, but there are several reports of a “ghost train” steaming along the tracks after dark. However, considering that no actual trains ever used this line makes this story about as credible as a Jeffrey Archer testimony.

"The Ghost Train is experiencing severe delays, please use the replacement bus service..."

Moving on we found ourselves in The Flask, another of London’s haunted pubs. Only slightly concerned that it was still technically morning, we sat down to ponder the pub’s history over a pint of something intoxicating and delicious. It is claimed a maidservant, who took her own life when an illicit romance turned sour, still frequents the pub and announces her presence with a sudden drop in temperature before going berserk with the lights and moving glasses along the bar. Yawn. Why can’t ghosts ever do anything more interesting than that? Flip the odd table over, maybe. Or put the Beastie Boys on the jukebox for four hours.

However, the Flask is an endearing pub with excellent food and even comes complete with a local lunatic who insisted on talking to us, for what seemed like an eternity, about soup. Perhaps he was a ghost? Frankly, we were too bored to check.

Leaving the pub we passed Pond Square, known in paranormal circles for being the site of a rather unusual haunting; the ghost of a chicken. No, we are not making this up. According to Walking Haunted London: In 1943, one Terence Long was crossing Pond Square late at night when he heard the sound of horses hooves accompanied by the low rumble of carriage wheels. Suddenly, a loud raucous shriek, split the silence, and the ghostly chicken appeared before him and proceeded to race frantically around, before vanishing into thin air.” Alarmingly, this spectre has been seen several times since. Give us strength.

Chicken Payback

As laughable as the ghost chicken story undoubtedly is, at least it’s original. After all, if you’re going to make something up, make it interesting and faintly ridiculous rather than some vague and generic account of a jilted lover who slams doors and sometimes makes the air a bit chilly. Come on; get creative with your lies!

Slightly underwhelmed with Highgate’s supernatural offerings so far, we concluded our soirée by visiting somewhere ghouls were bound to be in abundance; Highgate Cemetery. Home to such luminaries as Karl Marx, George Eliot and, erm, Jeremy Beadle, surely this place would be alive (pardon the expression) with famous ghosts, swirling around the place with unbridled glee? Yes?

Well, what do you reckon? You’ll have to wait until our next post to find out…

If Looking For Ghosts has learned one thing from the whole ZOZO debacle it’s that the internet is awash with stupidity. For the most part,  paranormal websites and forums tend to be frequented by people who are only a whisper away from being sectioned.  These people, convinced they’ve seen a ghost, simply cannot wait to publish their scarcely believable accounts on the internet, often in near incomprehensible prose and with an enthusiasm which borders on manic.

The Looking For Ghosts Christmas party was always a hoot...

It’s easy to sneer at other people’s efforts, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that it’s also a lot of fun too. So for your own amusement we have decided to link to our favourite worst stories here. Click on the story title to be transported to a land where logic, rational thought and basic grammar do not apply. Reader beware; the unquantifiable, half-baked theories and reactionary opinions within these accounts may cause you to have an aneurysm.

 

A visitor from France: This guy is being haunted by what we can only assume is some kind of electrical appliance. Observe how he describes, in unrelenting detail, the alterations in octave and pitch of the noise he heard with all the charisma of a record producer tirelessly describing the complexities of how he mixed Coldplay’s album. Comically boring.

 Oh my, what the ….???!!!!??!: Never has a title so succinctly summed up the reader’s reaction. If you can work out what is happening here, then we’ll send you one of our famous Looking For Ghosts goody bags, consisting of a marmite sandwich and a Travelcard (zones 1-3 only). Frankly, we don’t have a clue.

A Visitor From England: This one is strangely brilliant. Be warned, there are no full stops so you’ll need to take a deep breath before attempting to read it.  At first this story seems to consist of someone seeing a cat (not very scary), until the end when it takes a sinister, and frankly implausible, turn. Enjoy her pensive conclusion, as well.

There is a Ghost in my Room: Some nice butt-touching in this one. Perhaps the ghost of a serial pervert? Also, note how she clarifies that posters can’t talk. Thanks for that.

My Two Homes in England: As well as having an excellent opening line, this story features something far scarier than any ghost: Enya. A lot of the incidents in this story seem to draw from memories the author had when they were under the age of three, so perhaps take it with a large pinch (or an industrial-sized shovel) of salt.  

The Shuffling Slippers: This story is unique in that it’s actually written by somebody with a faint grasp of the English language. In fact he obviously fancies himself as a bit of a wordsmith. This turns out to be his downfall, as he tries to be too clever and ends up looking a berk: “I frowned puzzledly ” is one such example. Still the best title of a ghost story we’ve ever seen.

Bedsit: Featuring glamorous Guildford, this story is actually strangely chilling. Two girls move in together (saucy) and soon all manner of paranormal hell breaks loose. Sort of. To be fair the clues where there when they first viewed the place, what with all the crucifixes lying around and such. 

But don’t let our sneering pomposity stop you from posting your own ghost stories on this blog. We could always do with a laugh.

Looking For Ghosts

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