by Harry Pope

Our Eastbourne BB

Our Eastbourne BB

In 2004 we owned a mid-terraced three storey house in Eastbourne, on the Sussex coast. It had been a B&B since being built in 1892, but as far as we knew had never shown any signs of ghostly activity. Until one Saturday morning when I was on my own in the house.

It was just before 10am, all the guests were out for the day, it was July, a lovely sunny day, and my wife was out shopping with Aunty Joan, who lived with us. As a man I recognised that my cleaning skills were inferior to my wife’s, as she had informed me many times previously, so when servicing guest rooms she usually emptied bins, ensured walls, surfaces and floors were clean, and I washed shower walls, as well as changed beds. We had duvets in all six bedrooms, all en suite with two small single rooms on landings, two average sized doubles, and two large front facing bedrooms that were kept for the best customers. I was in the single room located between the ground and first floors, just working my way round the bed, no music, just me with my thoughts to keep me company. Then I was aware of movement outside the door.

It was a lady in Victorian clothing, she had a bonnet, dark shawl, with a light-ish dress. I didn’t see her face, she glided up the stairs, and for that fleeting second I was completely taken by surprise. Because she was floating, I wasn’t aware of any legs.

What compounded my amazement was the fact that as well as being alone, I hadn’t heard the front door open or close, I wasn’t expecting anyone back until later that afternoon, and no-one should have been there. I called out ‘can I help you’, feeling a little foolish, but not in any form of jeopardy. I stopped what I was doing, walked onto the landing, looking up expecting to see her there. But there was no sign. With a perplexed look on my face, I slowly examined each room, looking under beds, inside wardrobes, opening shower doors, but of the mysterious lady there was no trace. When I had examined the top floor rooms, on my way down I stopped in each room again, still finding nothing. I kept on calling out in a loud voice ‘hello’, but it was to an empty home.

It took me the best part of an hour to complete my housekeeping tasks, ticking off each room in my mental list as they were ended, and it was a puzzled B&B proprietor who joined his wife for coffee that morning. Inevitably she was sceptical, asking all manner of questions along the lines of ‘you can’t have seen anyone’, and ‘and what did she say then?’ as well as ‘are you sure you’re not imagining things.’ I was steadfast in my tale, after a while she came round to believing that I must have seen something after all. But the clincher came when we were having lunch, a sandwich with Aunty. I explained what had occurred, and she replied

I really did see her

I really did see her

‘I have seen a ghost in here as well.’

‘who was it?’

‘Oh, I don’t really know, I didn’t pay much attention.’

‘have you seen this very often?’

‘Now and again. I don’t say anything, it is just there. Ghosts don’t bother me, they don’t do anything to harm me, I am quite happy for them to be with me.’

Bear in mind that at the time she was in her late 80s, she is now 103.

The haunted inn is on the left

The haunted inn is on the left

In 2016 a friend of ours took on a pub in a small East Sussex village about ten miles inland from where we live in Eastbourne. If you contact me direct I will tell you its location, but that isn’t particularly relevant. What is pertinent is a follow-up to the above story. The pub dates back to the 16th Century, reportedly haunted, 98-year-old Aunty managed the stairs to the first floor, but decided to sit and rest while we explored the rest of the building. It was fascinating having a private tour of wood panelled bedrooms, creaking floorboards, knowing that so many people had stayed here over the centuries. The history that was seeping out from the walls was almost possible to touch, all you had to do was breathe and you knew that another story was ready to be experienced.

When we returned, Aunty told us immediately that a presence had found her out, quite benign, she hadn’t felt threatened in any way. She could not be specific, despite being asked about what it was she felt. No, not a smell. No voices. She didn’t see anything. But the atmosphere told her that she was not alone.

Red Indian spirit guide

Red Indian spirit guide

I have been told on two occasions by ladies who are receptive to spirits that I have an aura, there is a Red Indian guide with me. Both people told me that this person is with me all the time, they are aware he is there, and he is ready to be a conduit for me to receive messages. Make of their opinion what you will, I am a latent Spiritualist, willing to have an open mind about what is there, but isn’t there.

Is it all in the receptive mind? I don’t know. But do you?

 

 

Harry Pope was an Eastbourne hotelier, in a disastrous partnership with a Californian businessman. The sorry story is told in Hotel Secrets, available on Amazon at £3.99 for the e-version, or £5.99 printed. The alternative title should have been Don’t Buy That Hotel.