In the Norfolk town of Shipdham, just a short drive from East Dereham, you will find a pretty Grade II listed medieval house which just so happens to be the residence of a trapped spirit. Supposedly the ghost of a young girl, she has made her presence known to previous occupants of the house and though she does not seem frightening in herself, her haunting appearances have caused at least one home owner to sell the property and find somewhere a little less – well, haunted.
One family, however, did not leave, and came to accept the ghostly girl’s presence. It was the woman who noticed her first. Shortly after they moved in she would go into her bedroom to find that her jewelry box and her makeup had been emptied and scattered about the room. This seemed rather strange but didn’t disturb her too much.
However when her little granddaughter came to visit and wandered off and began talking to an invisible person, perhaps she began to feel a little uneasy. When the child was asked who she was talking to, she promptly replied “Beatrix” – an unusual name these days, and one which the little girl had never heard before.
Later, after a family holiday to Austria where the woman’s husband had purchased an elaborate feathered hat as a gift for her, the woman walked into her bedroom on one occasion to find that the hat had been moved from its place and the feather had been taken out and dropped elsewhere. No one could have done it – only a ghost!
The final piece of proof came when the family had been doing some redecorating. The lounge had two entrances from the kitchen and in one of these entrances they had placed a piece of furniture – some shelves, or a bookcase. They were sitting relaxing in the lounge when all of a sudden the piece of furniture fell over. It had obviously been pushed – but by who? Perhaps the spirit was unhappy with the modification and wished to show her displeasure.
These were not the only eerie events which took place inside the house however. When some renovations were being done to a certain room, which was to be re-painted, the people who stripped away the wallpaper discovered a series of old sketches drawn directly on to the wall. Some were barely discernible, but they were still fascinating, and the Conservation people were called in to examine them. They became very excited and declared that the sketches were to be protected – they could not be painted over.
Last but not least, when the house’s attic was examined one day they found a little girl’s shoe sitting there all by itself. According to an old custom a child’s shoe would be placed in the attic of a house if its little owner had died there. Further proof that the house is haunted? At the very least, the finding of the shoe is eerie and very poignant. Who did the shoe belong to and what did its owner die of? Is she the spirit who still resides inside the house even now?
We may never know the answers to these questions – but whenever I drive past that house I always cast a quick glance at the windows; wondering if, one of these days, I might see a ghostly child looking back at me.