Spooky visits to Norwich home that made a family flee in terror
PUBLISHED: 11:33 21 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:33 21 January 2014
COPYRIGHT ARCHANT NORFOLK 2003
There were spooky goings on in Norwich of half a century ago when a “little old lady” forced a terrified family to flee their home in Beecheno Road.
And it wasn’t the first time that this ghost – described as a small woman with grey swept-back hair had gone walkabout on the Larkman – there were reports of her being seen in 1949.
Mr and Mrs Ronald Parker, along with their 15-year-old son David and 13-year-old daughter Margaret, hit the headlines in January of 1964 when they packed up and left the home where they had lived for a decade.
Ronald told how they had heard strange noises when they first moved in but then, after six years, he actually met the ghost on the stairs but kept quiet about it.
Then, during one weekend 50 years ago, the family fled after several apparitions and a blood-curdling scream from an upstairs bedroom.
It seemed as if the “little old lady” was very active.
Bangs, bumps, footsteps...they all built up to a crescendo late on the Sunday night when mum and dad heard their son scream.
Ronald rushed to his bedroom to see the ghostly figure of the woman standing over his son’s bed.
He grabbed David and they ran back to his bedroom where they locked themselves in – terrified.
George’s ghostly surprise
News of the “little old lady” 50 years ago prompted famous Norwich photographer George Swain to ask if anyone had seen Thorpe’s ghost lately.
“I have not seen it myself for years now, because I have not been that way at the right time,” said George in January 1964.
He explained: “For years when coming along on a motor cycle I used to see a black shape come out of a gateway about 200 yards from the Red Lion, cross the road and disappear into the cemetery.
“It was always late at night, about 11.45.
“I suppose I saw it about 18 times in 20 years, the last time being in 1945.
“My wife has seen it too, as have other residents in Thorpe.”
George, one of the best and most highly respected photographers Norwich has ever produced, recalled that when the shape, about the size of a dog, could be seen crossing the road he had a prickly sensation at the back of his neck.
On more than one occasion he had stopped, jumped off his motor cycle, and ran to peer over the cemetery wall – whatever it was had vanished into the night.
“We all spent the rest of the night in one room. We didn’t sleep at all. We stayed awake all night with the light on,” he added.
The following day the family moved out – driven away by the “little old lady” of Beecheno Road.
The Parker family was not the first to be disturbed by “Miss Spook” – a similar apparition was seen at another home in the street on Boxing Day of 1949.
A young woman told how she was sitting alone by the fire when the ghost suddenly appeared – sitting in the chair opposite.
She had grey hair, drawn straight back from her forehead. She just sat there staring, not speaking.
At the time it was thought the apparition was that of the woman’s grandmother... she had never met her. She had been dead for 22 years!