Why are houses haunted at all?

December, 2017


This entry was very very special to my heart, as I had the chance to visit my first overseas
haunted house! 

10:30AM

Why did they make England so cold. Why would the Queen make it like this? 

I thought that living in Canada my entire life would prepare me. We have what scientists refer to as “all the snow”, we are literally where Santa Claus lives. 

But I realize it’s prepared me for fuck-all when I arrive at Peter Knightley’s little blue house overlooking the way-too-long-for-its-own-good Palace Pier in Brighton. I’m probably not supposed to experience the seaside town when it’s mid-winter, but this is when Peter’s gotten in touch with me. 

When he answers the door, I’m surprised he’s so tall. I thought old people were supposed to shrink, so it makes me wonder how tall Mr. Knightley started out as. I ask him if I should call him “Father Knightley” or something, but he’s pretty chill about it. He says he hasn’t been a priest for a long time. 

Then why you wearing the outfit, sir??????

Anyway, normal Peter who’s wearing a priest costume for no fucking reason leads me to the backyard and immediately starts dishing about his Experiences.

I’d been hoping to get an offer of tea, as I’ve yet to have one since coming to the tea capital of the western world, and also cause it’s *cold* out, but I understand his rush. Unlike my other investigations, where I typically stay in a house for a few days or more, I’m only in Brighton for the day. So. We must needs get to the paranormal immediately.

Peter tells me he feels a presence at times. The hairs on his neck stand up every time there is a full moon. He’s hung a cross in each room but frequently finds them on the floor or hanging upside down. He hears footsteps when there’s no one else in the house. Classic ghost shit. He’s been reading the blog for a while (Hi Peter! Sorry I dragged you above!), but held off on contacting me until last week when he saw that I was in England anyway. 

So, the last straw for Father Pete was the incident in his preserves cellar last Tuesday morning. He was minding his own business, organizing his various pickled picklables, when suddenly, Father Pete hears—not just hears, feels—someone right next to him clearly ask if he can hear their confession. 

And then he was so afraid, he shat himself. 

I’m messing with you. My dude is in his 90s, he shits himself on the reg for non-fear related reasons.

So, hearing this, and already crafting the “he shit himself” joke I’m gonna write on the blog, I follow Peter down to the cellar with my big backpack filled with big ghost tools.

12:05PM

Honestly, the cellar is not at all spooky looking and I’m so visibly disappointed by it that Peter feels sorta bad and starts hyping it up like, “Oh no, but, it gets really dark down here without all the lights on”. 

I spread out the whole operation and get to work measuring and monitoring with my equipment. Immediately, across the board, everything is super normal.

Peter’s sort of chatting with me while I’m setting up and writing down readings, and he asks me why is it houses are haunted at all. He says that he never heard or worried about churches being haunted when he was in the seminary and I kind of roll my eyes in a shitty way and say, yeah, duh, cause demons and stuff are afraid to go into a church. And then Peter asks me if I think a demon is in his house.

And I swear, Fam, he was scared.

This great big old British man was straight up trembling when he asked me that.

I keep clearing my throat and like, exaggerating some shivers and Peter finally gets the hint and offers me a cup of tea. I debate it like I’ve never heard of tea before. He tells me it’ll be a proper English whatever whatever and goes upstairs to make it. And that’s when things get interesting.

Like I said, I’m registering no temperature spikes, no strange smells, no peripheral movement, nothing on the motion detector, BUT the EMF is going nuts.

Geiger counter at Chernobyl nuts.

I get my camera running and I start a video when suddenly, all my other gear starts going nuts too.

I put the camera down and run upstairs to tell Peter when—talk about classic ghost shit—the cellar door slams in my face.

Uh, yeah.

RIP, me.

So, I’m pounding on it and then I can hear Peter on the other side pounding on it, and he’s yelling at me that it’s locked and I’m yelling at him to go get the key and then I realize that all the machines downstairs have stopped.

The door’s still locked tight, so I venture downstairs again and all of my gear is melting.

Like, melting melting. Into ooze. In fact, it’s boiling.

Infrared thermometer: melted. Motion detector: melted. Camera: melted.

EMF: not melted. But sounding off at a constant high; it’s maxing out.

I hear Peter upstairs, the key’s worked and he’s able to get in, but immediately, I hear a loud tumbling sound. In his hurry, 200 year old Peter’s fallen down the stairs.

Wondering how I’m gonna explain to the British police how I came to all the way from Canada and ended up standing over this old priest’s corpse in a cellar next to a puddle of black goo was not really a thing I had imagined my vacation containing.

Luckily, he’s not dead. But, oddly, his priest collar thing’s kind of hanging out of his shirt. I ask if he’s bleeding or anything, the EMF still screaming, and I can tell he’s sort of more embarrassed than hurt. But he is frightened and can’t take his eyes off the weird sight of the equipment bubbling. Fair. Then, kind of absent-mindedly, he reaches up and pulls his askew priest collar off.

The EMF immediately stops.

I clock this but it looks like Peter’s out to lunch. Doesn’t he read my blog???? Nothing’s a coincidence!!

I explain my theory and offer proof in a little demo: I get Peter to put on a proper collar again and again, the EMF goes wild. He takes it off, and it quiets down. Simple, I tell him, whatever spirit(s) might be here are obviously triggered by your priest garb.

“Because they are the devil’s children?” he whispers.

To which I respond, “Well, you said you haven’t been a priest for a long time, so maybe they’re Catholic ghosts and they’re offended that you’re not priesting anymore but you’re dressing like it. Cause you’re kind of impersonating at this point, right? Maybe it’s the ghost of a pope.”

This made Peter *so* happy. He loved the idea of his house potentially being haunted by a dead Pope. He started talking about Boniface II and I started saying my goodbyes. 

1:45PM

Peter felt so bad about my gear that he gave me a shit-ton of his preserves to take with me. I guess it's PB+J for lunch for the next year.

I just realized I never got that cup of tea. Dammit.

Happy Hunting.

-Jess

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