Back in Sep 2004 I was staying in a cottage in the Lake District. This happened to be the birthplace of John Dalton. Dalton was an eminent scientist in 1880’s, best known for his pioneering work on atomic theory and colour blindness (Daltonism). The cottage itself was steeped in history and there were many old pictures and artefacts dotted around.
On the first night my fellow guest (not a ghost) and I watched Most Haunted and then went to bed. I’m never good at sleeping in new locations but I got the sense that someone was at the threshold of the bedroom. The hall light was on so I could see no one was there. I dismissed this feeling and fell asleep.
An hour or two later I wore up with a start and had the sensation that someone (male) was standing over me, watching me in the dark very close to my face. I was too scared to turn the bedside light on so hid under the covers. I didn’t want to wake my partner in case they got freaked out or told me I was stupid. I therefore hid, scared under the covers until the sensation passed or I fell asleep, I’m not sure which.
The next morning I regaled my friend with the tale. I later picked up the visitors book and was surprised and bemused to see several references to a ghost. Proof! I said that the cottage was haunted. For the remainder of the week I peered around corners checking no one was there but nothing else happened.
At the time I was open-minded about the paranormal so was convinced I’d had a genuine paranormal experience. Over the years I rationalised the event. As I have learnt more about the psychology of paranormal perception I have discounted it completely. I was fortunate to stay there again in 2014, just before I started my Psychology MSc and project on paranormal belief. That week passed without incident and I found the place warm, friendly and without any spooky atmosphere. I also reread the visitors comments with a more critical eye.
Was my second visit uneventful because I was a sceptic or did the ghost leave me alone? I won’t bore you with psychological research here but there is evidence that the suggestion a location is haunted can be enough to induce paranormal experiences. As a counter argument, I only found out the location may be haunted afterwards but the combination of location, context and history may have conspired to create a sense of presence.
I have had other (ghost hunting) experiences I can’t fully explain but this is my most paranormal experience… so far!