Friday, 17 July 2009

The Ghost of the Rose Bedroom

Whether or not you believe in the paranormal - and I do not - one often experiences strange happenings.

Have you ever been certain that you know exactly what is about to happen at a particular point? Do you understand what I mean?

Sometimes I've been having a conversation and I know precisely what is going to be said, just before it is said. The surroundings are exactly the same, everything is just as I know it will be. It's as though I'd experienced this whole scene and conversation some time in the past. Déjá vu is, I think, the term we use.

I cannot understand this phenomenon; I just know I've experienced it more than once.

Well, certain other inexplicable things happen all the time. Not all the time to me, but occasionally - especially since I came to live in Mellerstain House. This is just one of those 'strange things'.

It's now about six months since my wife and I came to Mellerstain House. I've studied the history of the place, its origins and inhabitants over almost three centuries. Fascinating stuff too. I need to know all about its history so that visitors touring the house can get answers to their questions.

Easter, 1996, and we are open to the public. I have a group of 20 Dutch tourists to take on a conducted tour. Most of the group speak perfect English; they put we Brits to shame!

Mellerstain has a strong connection with Holland. Lady Grisell Baillie, the eldest of 18 children of Sir Patrick Hume, were in exile in Utrecht, Holland, for some time, owing to Sir Patrick's alleged involvement in the Rye House Plot. Grisel took care of all the family whilst in hiding in Holland. She is one of Scotland's great heroines.

During this conducted tour I took the group of tourists into the Rose Bedroom. This is the only north facing bedroom in the house. Although it is a pretty room it always has a chill feel to it. One could possibly expect this, after all it does face north.

After a brief chat about the room and its original hand-printed rose-pattern wall-paper, the group filed out of the room heading for the first of the south-facing bedrooms, the Manchineel Bedroom. As the final member of the group entered the Manchineel room I looked back towards the Rose Bedroom. I just caught sight of a woman entering the Rose Bedroom. I asked the group leader to stay with the group whilst I nipped swiftly back to the Rose Bedroom.

As I approached the door I called out "Excuse me madam, but we've been in this room already ..." No reply. There was nobody in the room. I looked behind the black Chinese screen - nothing. I opened the door to the en suite bathroom; nothing, nobody there either. There is only one way in and out of the bedroom and the bathroom. Both were completely empty.

Yet I was certain of what I'd seen. Strange, but the tour had to go on.

Later that day Lord Haddington asked me how I'd got on with the house visitors. It was most enjoyable I said. I also mentioned that I thought I'd seen somebody go into the Rose Bedroom but found nobody there.

"Oh, that's Lady Grisell doing her rounds I suppose." he said. "Was she dressed in grey?"

"Yes, I think so - but it must have been a shadow or something; there was definitely nobody in the room or the bathroom." I replied.

The Earl said: "You're not the first who have seen her. She's our resident ghost!"

Lord Haddington has a great interest in the paranormal. He was, until a couple of years ago, president of a Crop Circle group and still likes to investigate new occurrences of these things. He is a most interesting and knowledgeable chap in many areas.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy ... (to quote the Bard's Hamlet).


The Bug said...

I have trouble believing in ghosts - because I'm just so rational. But I want to for some reason & would be thrilled to find out that they really exist!

Pauline said...

Perhaps when you've passed from this world, you can move from one dimension to another if you choose. I'd like to think so. Otherwise, seeing my father a full year after his death would have scared me to death! Instead, it became a great comfort.

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

I very much believe there's more going on than what we can see and hear with our eyes.

How nice that the resident ghost revealed herself to you.

PhilipH said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this esoteric topic ladies.

There is a grand piano in the music room and I swear I heard it being played one evening as I was locking up. Also, a definite aroma of attar of roses in the drawing room at the same time. Who knows ...

the walking man said...

I think that over the centuries there is just to much evidence for there not to be something to the belief in ghosts. I thin there are some who do not go to sleep for one reason or another. Wrote a novel about it as a matter of fact.

PhilipH said...

Yes Mark, there is much in what you say. Personally, life after death is something I would have a big bet on! If there is a life in the next world I'd collect; if there isn't ... well, it wouldn't matter anyway.

Silver said...

Yes. I've had some of those.. but not too often. i mean, those dejavu moments.. like you're in a certain new place and you go, "hey..this looks familiar. "

My cousin who lived in another Country once took me to this mall near where he had lived when i visited him. And as we passed by this red bricked bulding- i just had a cold strange feeling. I stopped him and asked, "hey, is this place upstairs like a hospital or something coz i have seen it before (in my dreams) of rows of bed and sick patients who looked like from war vintage era on them.."

He looked at me- and said "maybe a 100 years ago." Now it's part of a mall.


Reflections said...

More than the ghost, the story has craft in its telling. Sure holds our interest. Well done!

Star said...

Interesting story. Isn't it amazing how many of these apparitions are dressed in grey? Maybe they appear as shadows and therefore always look as if they are wearing grey.
Blessings, Star

Anonymous said...

Have there been other incidents you have witnessed, Phil?
One day, I will be a ghost and I intend to have some fun with it.

PhilipH said...

Silver: Deja Vu is, I understand, a fairly common experience. One "explanation" I've read goes something like: the mind is working at a different rate from the optic nerve, just be a very short timespan. I guess that means our mind knows what our eyes are just about to see. Anyway, it's a weird sensation.

Ivan: Thank you; nice to see you again (so to speak!).

Dagenham Dave: No ghostly visions but quite a few aural jolts, like the spinnet or the piano being played, the usual creaks and door slams but most of all clear footsteps on the stairs! I had a small office just below our flat where I kept my pc. It was a wooden staircase. I heard somebody walk past my office door and I said: 'I'll be up in a minute', thinking my wife had just gone past. I asked her when I got back up to the flat why she'd walked past the office. She had no idea what I was on about. I am still convinced, some years later, that I did NOT imagine those footfalls on the stairs.

Good luck with your future hauntings! Hope you don't become a poltergeist Dave.

Land of shimp said...

Oh I'm so glad I finally thought to click on your username to see if you have a blog! What a fun story.

I don't claim to have any sort of explanation. That old saying that runs something like: the older I get, the more I know, the more I realize how little I know.

I like it when people are comfortable discussing what they don't know for sure. Just the simple admission of it. I don't know that I believe in ghosts, I do know that I believe there are things I've yet to understand.

One fun theory that I read is that many "ghosts" are simply energy imprints, a sort of tape playing, over and over.

Another theory I've read had to do with time -- how we don't really understand time fully. That there are many different theories about how time functions, and that perhaps it isn't linear.

Maybe that explains both your Lady in Grey in the Rose Bedroom, and the feeling of knowing what will come next. That the feeling of knowing what will come next has to do with the nonlinear time theory.

Who knows? I certainly don't!

PhilipH said...

Firstly, what, why, who "Land of Shimp"? Is it a person or a place or what?

Secondly, your comment about "energy imprint" and "tape" struck a chord (no pun intended) with me.

I remember seeing a tv play, many moons ago, called the Stone Tapes. It was such a good play it might be worth reviving. It was about an old Victorian house with odd goings on. Then a scientist gets involved. Something about the stone wall acting like a tape recorder. Yes, thanks for your comment as it uncovered this dim and distant memory of the play.


Jo said...

I am a skeptic about most things, but I have lived in a house that was haunted. My daughter's room was ice cold all the time, even thuogh the vent from the furnace was working just fine. And the house had an uneasy almost angry feeling to it. When we moved out, we found some World War One medals on a shelf in her room.

My daughter said she could "feel" the angry ghost in her room.

Maybe strong emotions stay behind as some sort of energy, and occasionally they take the shape of the person.

Interesting post!

PhilipH said...

Yes Jo, certain places definitely have a "feel" about them. The cottage I now live in is over 200 years old; it must have had many people living, and dying, in it in the past. Although I try to imagine what it must have been like for many of them in the late 1700s and later I am glad to say that no strange sensations have, as yet, have disturbed our comfort.
Cheers, Phil

Land of shimp said...

Philip, you aren't missing anything with the name. Shimp is just a nickname, it doesn't mean anything particularly interesting, and is just nonsense. I've had it for a fairly long time though, and when I started a blog that's what I used. Basically all it would mean is "The Land of Me".

The house I just moved from had a definite feeling to it, and quite possibly what most would consider a ghost. It was built in 1912 -- so enough time to build up a varied history.

However, the feeling was overwhelmingly happy. People would comment on how much they loved the house from the moment they walked in the door.

Things would occasionally turn on and off in my son's room, among other things. The on is easily explained (common with power surges), the off is not as easily explained.

I didn't realize quite how haunted the place truly was until I moved to our new home, and was up in the middle of the night chasing after a sound...and I knew it was just a sound. There wasn't anything attached to it. It felt completely different from the house from which we'd moved.

I don't know that I believe in ghosts, but I do believe there I things for which I currently lack an explanation but are real nonetheless.

PhilipH said...

Hi Shimp, and thanks for the explanation of your nom-de-plume.

There is a website which gives the coat of arms etc., on the name Shimp:

Just thought it might be of some (or possibly none) interest.

Cheers, Phil

Land of shimp said...

Ha! I love the crest, thank you for pointing it out!

I like that the suit of armor apparently has a rather squashed head on it.

"My family always had incredibly level-heads. No really. You could balance anything atop Uncle George, kept us amused for hours!"

willow said...

Oh, my. I was just about to use that Hamlet quote to comment and you actually summed up your post with it!

I had no reason to believe in ghosts, until we moved to Willow Manor 21 years ago. All of us have seen and heard too many things, out of the ordinary, to say there is nothing going on.

Interesting experience, Philip. Thanks for directing me to this post.