A SHIVER ran down the spine of a Stafford man whenever he thought about a room in his house at North Walls. . . and he had good reason.
Former Staffordshire Regiment man Donald Proudlock wasn't the sort to run away from things that go bump in the night, but this single room in his terraced home was different.
The 29-year-old had moved into the house only three days earlier when a ghost appeared, the figure of a man with a hood over its head is how Donald explained to a Newsletter reporter in November 1981.
He had been sleeping in the room and the apparition appeared around 1 o'clock. “I thought I must be dreaming," Donald said, adding: “I rubbed my eyes and it was still there. It was sitting in the chair looking at the floor."
On another occasion, Don saw the ghost's face. It was ugly and contorted and was leaning over him as he tried to sleep. “I closed my eyes hoping it would go away but it didn't. I tried to grab it. As I got up, a picture hanging on the wall flew across the room."
When Don switched on the light, the ghost disappeared leaving the picture lying on the floor. He wasn't the only one to experience a ghostly encounter in the bedroom at his home.
One night, a friend was staying with him. “We were sitting in the room and talking. After a while we both went to sleep in our chairs. Suddenly my friend woke up; he was scared stiff but couldn't describe what he'd seen."
Don had noticed that the room was as cold as a freezer yet the electric fire was on and he could see his breath in the night air.
He believed that the person who had lived in the property before him had dabbled in the occult and found a pack of tarot cards and a hangman's noose above the stairs. “One of the tarot cards was nailed to the wall."
Despite his experiences, Don rejected the idea of his home being exorcised, but not everyone was so light-hearted about it, including his dog which would never wander upstairs.
It had only been with Don for a matter of two days before it went missing. “I opened the back door in the morning, it shot out and never came back."
Newsletter reporter Neil Thomas decided to satisfy his own curiosity about this ghostly story and spent the night in the room but nothing happened, no eerie noises or strange apparitions. “Even though the electric fire was turned on in the upstairs room, it was the coldest part of the house," reported Thomas.
But Christ Church vicar at the time, the Rev Richard Sargent understood that hauntings could happen telling the Newsletter: “I can accept the reality of it. It is a very real thing, the manifestation of the spirit."
“If there is a life after death, then it is quite understandable that there should be manifestations. Where there has been a violent death, haunting is most likely," he said.
But the vicar cautioned: “When dealing with a haunting I always look for natural course first. I take a copy of St Mark's Gospel to give people confidence that there is a power stronger than the ghost."
He agreed that dabbling in the occult could have been the cause of the North Walls apparition and underlined the fact that dealings with the supernatural was all part of his ordinary parish work.
Psychic medium Doreen Shadbolt also backed Donald Proudlock's claim about those who had dabbled in the occult. “Dabbling in the occult does not help. If you hold a seance without really knowing what you're doing, spirits will latch onto you."
“I can't say where the ghost has come from but it could be a previous inhabitant. He or she may even have taken his own life."
Mrs Shadbolt of Uttoxeter, said that more people were becoming interested in spiritualism. “People are talking about it more."
But talking didn’t solve Donald Proudlock’s curiosity and no doubt the ghost disappeared when properties in North Walls were demolished several years later.