You are showing your prospective buyers around a beautiful Victorian mansion. You walk through the ornate gothic gates up the slightly overgrown driveway. You take your well-heeled couple through the enormous entrance hall and up the grand wide stairway. The stairs are on the creaky side, but that’s what you get with a property of this age and quality, you inform your would be customers. You continue along the upstairs hallway to the master bedroom. One of the windows is open. How odd you think to yourself, smiling as you let the buyers know that the cleaner must have left it open when she left an hour ago. Only you know that the cleaner hasn’t been in since last week.
You enter the master bedroom and you’re just giving the full historical background to the buyers when you all hear that creak again, loud and clear. But this time there’s no one out there on the stairs. Laughing it off you carry on with your spiel, hoping they don’t turn around as only you can see the picture on the wall moving from straight to crooked as if by an invisible hand. You take a deep breath, think of the commission and finish the tour without once using the words spooky, ghost or above all haunted.
Should you, the estate agent, mention everything you know about a house? Some people will want to hear about past incidents and reputation of the home they are buying, but others will find this a distinct turn off. Are you honour bound to give the fullest story, even if it contains macabre details?
There are some areas of the country where estate agents need to be extra careful about spooky rumours. Here’s our guide to areas where it may not always be the best idea to dwell on the past.
York is famous for it’s ghost tours, with many spook hunters making pilgrimages to the city. The Golden Fleece is a famously haunted pub, and the city cellars are available tours. 35, Stonegate is a 700 year old haunted home that has been visited by none other than TVs Derek Acorah for ghostly verification. Estate agents working in this city need to be as well informed on spooky history as they do about local schools and amenities.
Bodmin Moor in Cornwall is apparently home to many wandering ghosts and spectres, and is home to the ancient Bodmin Jail, where many executions took place. It is also the location of one of the UKs most famous literary ghost spots, Jamaica Inn. The legendary coaching house has been around for four centuries. You can still go and stay at this inn made famous by Du Maurier’s spooky tale, but watch out for things that go bump in the night!
Whitby is a small coastal town in Yorkshire made famous by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Stoker visited and stayed in the town many times. In the novel, Dracula first comes to England when his ship the Demeter, carrying many coffins arrives in Whitby. Many people come to Whitby just because of the Dracula legend, and spooky tours and walks do very well in this historic town.
Another city where local knowledge needs to include a lot of history is Edinburgh with it’s many renowned ghosts. Edinburgh Castle itself is said to be haunted by the headless drummer and the lost piper as well as other spooks. There’s also Dairy House near the Haymarket with it’s supposed ghostly resident, and at Holyrood Palace, where Mary Queen of Scots lived, the spectre of her husband lord Darnley is said to appear. When viewing property in Edinburgh it might be worth checking the paranormal database before you buy.
London has countless famous ghosts, and some say it’s the most haunted city in the UK. Of course there are the many victims at the Tower of London, which is said to be inhabited by many of their spirits. The Ten Bells on Commercial Street in E1 is the pub where Jack the Ripper is said to have seen his final victim, Mary Kelly. Residents in this area have consistently claimed spooky encounters. The Viaduct Tavern in Newgate Street, EC1 is said to be home to a poltergeist, and staff in the cellars have witnessed many unexplained incidents through the years. In London they say you are never more than 10 feet from a ghost!
As Hallowe’en approaches, if you are showing buyers around property in any of these areas take extra care of creaky stairs and objects that might mysteriously move! We’d love to hear if you have any stories of showing or viewing haunted houses, and how you dealt with any questions that arose. Let us know in the comments section below.
Main image licensed by Free Photo Gallery, www.metaphoricalplatypus.com