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Have you ever read a local newspaper? I wouldn’t bother. Nothing exciting ever happens locally. I know that technically everything that happens in the world has to happen somewhere and will therefore obviously be local to someone, but you know what I mean. Not in your town. Not where you live.

As a student, I once did a work placement on a local newspaper in a nondescript town somewhere in the UK. It was rubbish. I regularly had to check my pulse to make sure I hadn’t slipped into a coma. The highlight of my time there was conducting a phone “interview” with someone who worked in a petrol station about a new road that was being built around the town. He told me to “fuck off” and then hung up. I took his advice and have never looked back. I probably owe more to that man than any careers advisor I have ever spoken to.

Well, now I’m running a paranormal blog and living the dream. Who’s laughing now, petrol station man? Still you? Oh. Well, fair enough.

Local news stories of any public interest whatsoever are extremely thin on the ground, and none more so than at the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review (snappy title, guys!) where the barrel has clearly been scraped dry.

Their headline report on The Haunted Bus Stop is nothing short of absurd; an extraordinary attempt to fill their pages with something other than advertising space, classified ads and “Hands Off Our Forest” campaigns. They do love their forests in Gloucestershire. They just can’t get enough of bloody forests.

Anyway, the report claims that a bus driver, who wisely wishes to remain anonymous in case his employers think he’s mentally ill and his family disown him, has seen a ghostly figure waiting at a bus stop en route to the town of Cinderford. Twice.

The first encounter happened at the end of a shift when he noticed a solitary man waiting at the side of the road. As it was past midnight and no bus was due, the driver thought he would be helpful and offer him a lift. However, once he had pulled over and had a look around, there was nobody in sight. “I wondered if it had just been a reflection in one of the glass panels,” he mused.

After thinking nothing of it and putting it out of his mind, it has happened again at the very same bus stop. A mere 18 MONTH LATER.

The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review claims that the driver “remembered the figure had looked exactly the same and was even looking in the same direction on both occasions.”  Of course he did. Why wouldn’t he remember something totally insignificant that he had all but forgotten from a year and a half previous? I’m sure we all would.

Hilariously, the paper are appealing for information on any tragedy which might have taken place at this spot which would cause such frequent (well, two) paranormal sightings. There is a telephone number provided so why not give them a call? Go nuts. I’m definitely not encouraging anyone to make stuff up for a laugh. I’m just saying that it’s a possibility, that’s all. At least think about it.

Evidently not afraid to tackle the big issues, the paper is even running a poll asking the pertinent question: Do you believe a bus shelter can be haunted? Alarmingly, 73% have answered Yes.

Read that back, take your time. 73% of the people who have read this article are convinced that, yes, a bus shelter can be haunted. Surely that’s enough evidence to get the entire population of the Forest of Dean sectioned?

Other unrelated headlines in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley recently include ‘Dogs Blamed For Attack On Llama’, ‘The Little Girl Who Moved Men To Tears’, ‘Pigs With A Point’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Animal Armageddon’.

I’m not making any of this up.

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