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The strange tale of Mad Annie

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‘Connor, are you ok?' I called out to my son, who was sitting in the back seat. ‘Are you hurt?’ ‘No, Mummy,’ he replied. ‘Did you hit her with the car?’  ‘No, just missed her, stupid old fool.’ The woman certainly looked crazy, judging by her voluminous black dress that looked two sizes too big for her. She was wizened and ancient, like something out of Hammer Horror. A battered top hat sat crooked on her head, and a cascade of grey hair spilt out from underneath it. She was carrying an old-fashioned birdcage, and inside, a pair of dead crows lay sideways on top of each other. Their pointy black beaks protruded through the bars, and two pairs of dead eyes stared back at me.  The woman hobbled around to the windows at the back and peered in at Connor. ‘Is that my boy you’ve got in there? Is that my boy?’ I wound down the window. ‘Of course, it isn't. That’s my son. Get out of the way. I could have killed you.’ ‘So you’ve not seen my babies, Rufus and Helen? Still missing,

Anton's ghost

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While other girls worshipped David and Donny, my bedroom was adorned with photos of my favourite actor, Anton Walbrook. I didn’t have many friends, but it didn’t matter, as my mum and I were always so close. At weekends, she’d put the kettle on we’d snuggle up on the sofa and watch old movies. Anton starred in our favourite films: tales of obsessive love, brainwashed Nazis and suicidal ballerinas. He was always so handsome and mysterious. I loved his neat moustache, luscious dark hair and soft Germanic accent. He was my first real crush, despite inconveniently dying a decade earlier.  As I grew older, I got a job at a university. I kept myself to myself, but I enjoyed my work. At lunchtime, I would head to the library and study the film books and borrow DVDs to watch at home later. But then one day, mum had a stroke and she died two months later. It was a huge shock. I decided to take some time off, while the students were away, hoping it would give me the chance to adjust.  With mum g

The Sinister Rabbit

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Jackie’s a sinister rabbit You won’t see him hop – he just creeps He tucks himself under your pillow And nibbles your neck while you sleep. On Sundays, he sidles down chimneys His beady eyes watching the coast Then he’ll sneak in and your turn off your oven And devour your best Sunday Roast. You might see a glimpse of a bobtail, Or hear the faint gnawing of teeth But brother, if you want to confront him Tell your sister to go buy a wreath. Where did he come from – nobody knows He’s a changeling, a devil-may-care Jackie’s a sinister rabbit And he’s sitting right under your chair…

Peg Entwhistle - the Ghost of the Hollywood sign

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For over one hundred years, actors and filmmakers  have headed to the bright lights of Hollywood with the dream of making it big in pictures. Yet for every tale of overnight stardom, there are countless more of disappointment and failure, for behind the glitz and glamour, there is a darker side to Hollywood. Certainly, the location appears to have gained a sinister reputation. Paranormal Investigator Nick Nocerino, former director of the Institute of Psychic and Hypnotic Studies once declared there were more homes afflicted by evil entities in the Hollywood area than anywhere else in California. Aleister Crowley is rumoured to have formed a black magic coven there in the 1920s and the Founder of the Church of Satan, Anton Le Vey held court with movie stars, most notably Jayne Mansfield, later died in a horrific car accident. Hollywood was also the backdrop to Charles Manson’s hippie cult murders which led to the deaths of seven people, including Sharon Tate, the actress wife of d

Crimes and the undead - a ghost made me do it!

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Court cases featuring accounts of the paranormal have proven popular fodder for journalists, especially when the headline can feature some sort of genuinely frightening pun such as ‘Scary end for ghost’ Over the past twenty years, the press has reported tales of ghosts connected  to all manner of offences. Ghosts have been blamed for encouraging people to commit a crime. There are instances of criminals pretending to be ghosts to intimidate victims and claims for compensation when lives have been disrupted by unruly entities. This post highlights some of the stories that appeared in the press, from the sublime to the ridiculous. There is the case of a burglar who blamed his break-in on a ghost after he was arrested for breaking into a family home in Lincolnshire and helping himself to whisky and cigars . John Griffin, 60, said the spook, called Jennifer, told him to meet her at the farmhouse in Stainton by Langworth, Lincs. He was found "confused and rambling" on a bed b

A Prison Story

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Even at night, a prison is never truly silent. As you sit in your cramped little office, counting the ever-expanding hours until morning, you’ll hear the staccato of coughing or a prisoner crying out in his sleep, a sudden alarm announcing an overdose, and the whirr of CCTV. On some nights, you’ll welcome the temporary illusion of quietness as if the prison has merged into a single sleeping giant, and you are only the person awake in the world. But on other nights, without really knowing why, the atmosphere becomes oppressive and foreboding.  I met Roy Clarke on one of my first nights on the watch. He was older than the other officers, myself included. Still, he shared the same stocky physique of his colleagues - the widening midriff, a generous beard making up for the lack of hair on his head and a smattering of tattoos inked so long ago they had blurred into nothing. I think he must have noted my horrified expression as I first entered J Wing and thought I needed looking after. He