Is this old Norfolk airfield site really haunted?
PUBLISHED: 19:30 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 23:06 01 January 2020
Author asked people to tell her about their alleged supernatural experiences... and they did
If there's one thing more disconcerting than reading about spooky happenings, it's reading about spooky happenings in places you know.
Ruth Roper Wylde's fourth book invites folk around the UK to reveal their apparently-supernatural experiences: from poltergeists making people's lives a misery to more playful spectres switching on electronic toys in the middle of the night.
Ruth told me earlier this year how two of her childhood homes experienced suspected paranormal activity.
One was a bungalow in Bury St Edmunds - allegedly with the ghost of a boy who would run through the house. There was also a dark-haired woman in modern dress who'd walk through the bungalow, separately.
Ruth left Bury in 1977. The new family home in Hertfordshire had a poltergeist, she said, that at times was very scary.
Ruth became a civil servant (still works part-time) and spent more than a decade as a benefit fraud investigator.
Concerning claims of supernatural activity, she said: "My analytical mind will look at the data and often say 'Well, I can make that fit into that theory, and I can make that bit of data fit into that (different) theory, but I can't make all the data fit into one theory.
"So I often find myself sitting on the fence and keep an open mind."
Here are some "incidents" from her new book. Nonsense or plausible? You decide.
- These Haunted Times: Volume One, independently published, is £6.99.
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Old Bircham Newton airfield
North-east of Sandringham, it featured in both world wars and closed in 1962. "There is a legend that the site is haunted by the crew of a Lockheed plane which crashed there - most sources say it was a three-man crew, but some say there was also a woman and that her spirit is present too," writes Ruth.
Many reports focus on where squash courts used to be. "Supposedly, the sounds of a squash game in progress can be heard, and sometimes the sounds of an active airbase. Doors are said to open and close by themselves, and sometimes phantom aircraft are heard flying overhead."
Ruth was written to by a woman who moved into a house on the edge of the site.
Her daughter was two years old, "and far too short to be able to reach up to light switches. Yet on a number of occasions, when she went to check that her daughter was sleeping peacefully, she would find the bedroom light turned on, where she knew for certain it had previously been off.
"On another occasion, her mother and sister came to babysit while she went out for the evening. When she came home, they were quite worried - and told her how at one point during the evening they had heard the child giggling.
"They went in to check on her and settle her back down, but found her sitting cross-legged in the middle of her room, on the floor. She was still fast asleep, but seemed to be talking to someone as if that person were sitting opposite her."
A woman told Ruth about an old house she'd lived in.
"She explained, 'Whenever I formally set the dining table for a dinner party I would be aware of two people approaching the table and standing just beside it, one behind the other.' Usually, she could never see anything, just sense the presence.
"However, an evening came where they had a friend staying with them who was a member of the Dutch Navy, and normally quite a stoic person with no truck for nonsense or flights of fancy.
"Nevertheless, on this evening, as the table was being laid, both my correspondent and her guest caught a glimpse of the two extra visitors: one was a lady wearing a voluminous red skirt, with a white ruff around her neck and a neat black bolero-style jacket, standing with her hands folded neatly in front of her.
"The other was a tall gentleman… who wore black knee breeches, black stockings, and pointed shoes… They stood there for a moment before fading from sight, to the astonishment of our witness and her guest."