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Strange Occurrences (1)

April 2004

This series of paranormal experiences didn't happen to me, but to my mother and her colleagues.

For the past 17 years my mother has worked as a social worker in a residential home for mentally and physically handicapped kids. (I've blanked out the name of the home in case any current employees object.) Her shifts usually involved her working from 21:30 until 07:00 and her responsibility was to supervise kids who needed 24-hour care. For some time there had been stories of a ghost in the building but it was only relatively recently that the "entity" (for want of a better word) actually made its presence known.

It started off with small stuff such as staff not being able to find personal items where they had left it. More often than not this was put down to forgetfulness, or someone else moving the stuff, but it gradually became more and more common. Then, one of my mum's colleague's was making tea in the kitchen when a clock flew off the wall and almost hit her. Another colleague entered a previously locked room to find a swivel chair spinning round and round on its own, as if a child were sitting on it and playing. It stopped a few minutes after she set eyes on it. Needless to say, nobody else was in the room and it would have been impossible for someone else to set the chair spinning, then run out and lock the door without being seen leaving the room.

The scariest incident actually took place in the last few months. Hanging on the wall of the common room is a cupboard containing spare sets of keys to each of the kids' rooms. One day two members of staff and one child were in the common room when they saw the cupboard door swing open of its own accord. Then, one by one, the keys unhooked themselves from the little hooks inside and fell to the floor. Once the last one had dropped to the floor, the cupboard itself unfastened itself from the wall and also fell to the floor! The two staff members stood there absolutely transfixed. The funniest thing was that the child looked at both of them and cried, "It wasn't me! I didn't do it!"

I asked my mother whether any kids had died in the building, and she said they all suspected it was the ghost of one of their previous residents, a girl who died aged just 13. But some of her colleagues think it must be emanating from one or more of the kids, as apparently so-called poltergeist activity tends to be present in households with children or teenagers, particularly those in extreme emotional states. I would love to hear your opinions and whether you have experienced anything similar!

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