A young and lively American couple who had recently moved to the UK, contacted us concerning a chair that seemed to move of its own will.
The couple had moved into a central London ground floor apartment, with a little overgrown garden, where there was a metal table with two heavy chairs. Still unpacking boxes they had started their new jobs and were in and out of the house – and that’s when they noticed it.
They left the house the same time each day and on their return, a chair had moved away from the table. Each day they went out to the garden and pushed it back with effort, as it was heavy, and when they got home it had moved again. They were wondering if there was some aggressive force at work, or if their moving in had disturbed a spirit.
Authentic ghost experiences are rare. Many cases of the paranormal are down to simple or hidden factors, some physical some psychological. But then again, defining what a ghostly experience actually is can be very difficult. Much like the ghosts themselves these experiences are amorphous and ephemeral. But recurring poltergeist type activity, taking place during the middle of the day, is even more rare.
We began by asking the couple to try and establish a time when this occurred and what other factors were present. Could the house be entered easily? Did anyone else have a key? How safe was the garden?
They replied that the house was always locked up, and being a fairly new build was very secure. They were the only ones with keys, apart from their landlord, but he lived in Birmingham and the idea of travelling 4 hours to move a chair seemed ludicrous. The garden was totally surrounded by a large fence and hedge.
Then the ash started to appear. As the couple observed, they noticed that gathered round the moving chair were small deposits of grey powder.
With this evidence we felt we were onto something tangible, and we asked that one of them stay home during the day, under any pretense, because we believed that a very physical someone was entering the garden. Someone with a very normal habit.
The habit was of course smoking. What looked like a solid fence and hedge all the way around the garden, with some clever moving of a fence panel, allowed the next door neighbour access to the garden.
This neighbour and the previous tenant had an agreement that the neighbour could use the garden to secretly smoke. The previous tenant had unfortunately passed away, and the neighbour, not seeing the new couple yet, hadn’t realised someone new had moved in.
Each time the neighbour came in, they moved the same chair back enough to sit in, and the ash from their cigarette gathered on the floor as they hung their hand from the seat. They left the chair pulled out not thinking to push it back.
The American couple decided to keep the agreement of the previous tenant and the neighbour, to honour something of their memory. In a way, the friendly and ghostly presence still haunted the garden everytime the neighbour came for a quick smoke.