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28 Oct: The King's Lynn haunted house

In May 1902, a Norwich family packed up their belongings and moved to Windsor Terrace in Lynn - but it seems that someone, or something, wasn't glad to share one of the bedrooms there.

On their very first night in the house, three occupants were rudely awoken from their slumber by an invisible interloper. As was common at the time three brothers were sharing a bed in the small house - it was in this shared room that the incident happened.

A report in The Weekly Press at the time said: “...during the night the occupants of the bed rushed terrified from the room, averring that a ghostly visitor had laid hold of the bedstead and given it a good shaking, since then watch parties have been organised, and they declared that if they never believed in ghosts before they believe in them now.

“One individual, it is stated, was pitched neck and crop out of the room, and the bedstead has repeatedly given evidence of unearthly animation.

“Strange noises have also been heard, and altogether the room is credited with containing all the elements of a haunted chamber.

“At all events the family have been genuinely alarmed and have not dared to pass the night in the house since some of its members were so rudely disturbed, and a kind neighbour has provided them with sleeping accommodation.

“They have taken another house, but intend to leave the animated bedstead behind. In the meantime, it has been determined to continue the midnight watches in the hope of 'laying the ghost'”

News spread of the ghostly visitor's nightly antics - always between 11.15pm and 11.30pm - and a crowd of up to 400 people gathered around the house, refusing to leave until 3am. The head of the family invited some of his fellow workmen to stake out the haunted room, but the as The Press noted: “ could only have been expected, their vigil produced nothing of an exciting nature.

A crowd gathered outside the house

“The sensational manifestation has been reserved for those persons who have paid a visit to one of the bedrooms in the house and a story of strange happenings is given.”

The eldest brother's account was chilling - the 18-year-old spoke of a violently shaking bed, a sound like rushing wind before a “...visitor from the other world revealed itself to them in a shadowy form, and he positively saw two big fiery eyes staring at him.”

When the young man's parents came to reassure him and coax him back to bed, lighting his way, “ apparition approached the woman, and she threw herself upon the bed terrified, and the husband saw the bed rock and heard the rushing sound”.

The lack of a ghostly visit when a vigil was mounted was explained away by the fact the spectre had been, ahem, spooked by the crowds outside. Having spoken to the terrified family, an intrepid group of reporters offered to spend the night in the room, but the offer was later withdrawn by the occupier who explained he no longer thought it wise to continue to publicise the tale.

A few weeks later, on June 7, it was reported that the mystery had been solved and the culprit unmasked. According to the EDP, the rattling bed and the fiery eyes belonged to…a young starling. And they say people who believe in ghosts have lost their marbles.


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