Ghosts and Ghoulies in Oxford
AN EXTRACT FROM MY MEMOIR "OXFORD, A DECADE IN WONDERLAND"
PUNKS AND GOTHS continues...
Billeted for the
next two weeks in our red brick, dark eerie house we set about
exploring our new environs.
In the sitting room
occult books were scattered about. In our meanderings we discovered
stuffed birds, beloved of Victorian wives, perched on branches
brittle with age in dust-covered antique glass domes. In the low
light their eyes glinted as they stared sightlessly into space.
Soft- bodied puppets perched on chests and others dangled grotesquely
- like the recently hanged - from hooks in the ceiling. Glassy-eyed,
they seemed to watch our every move.
Later that evening
we found that our temporary home-away-from home came with a giant
spider squatting possessively on the bath plug. We tried to capture
it by putting a glass over its corpulent shape but it was too big, so
we ended up trapping it, with much fuss, in a pudding basin from the
Nicky and I shared
a big feather bed that night. Its quilt, probably once quite
beautiful but threadbare now, looked as if the cat had used it to
sharpen its claws. Melissa and Gillian, not usually agreeable to
sharing a room but on this occasion pleased for the company, bedded
down in the room next door.
At midnight we were
woken by heavy plodding footsteps overhead, the kind you hear in the
movies prior to an axe murder! Muffled voices drifted down from the
upper floor. I’d heard about ghosts in England’s ancient old
buildings. Were there ghosts too in this spooky place?
investigate, with torch in hand and Nicky close behind I crept along
the passage; our shadows, like ghosts, floated across the walls.
Upon reaching the foot of a stairway I looked up to see a strip of
buttery light gleaming from beneath a door above. There were
definitely inhabitants up there, ghostly or otherwise. I called in a
shaky falsetto, “Is anybody there?”
The door at the top
of the stairs creaked open.
appeared, a young woman with her head engulfed in fat pink rollers.
She was clutching a torch that underlit her face. Holding the door
ajar, her oversized nightdress trailed in a froth of fabric about her
feet. Could this ghost be wearing Dutch clogs beneath that nightdress I
wondered? It had sounded like it from our bedroom beneath. Her pink
rollers wobbled as she spoke. “Sorry if we woke you. We’re
students and we rent the upstairs rooms.”
More to follow tomorrow...
Photo copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Monday, November 11th 2013.