Do you ever think about the ghost stories and local folklore you used to hear about as a kid? I grew up in a tiny seaside town, one that Spike Milligan referred to as an overground cemetery. It’s true the average age of resident is around 70 (not fact but go with it) so it’s not too surprising the town itself is steeped in history.

I’ve tried to find any sort of fact to back up my little stories but I can’t. I did find a list of haunted local locations which is very interesting but doesn’t feature any of my places. Never mind, I can conjure up an atmosphere with my vague words, no sweat.

The skeleton in the loo

When we were small girls at primary school none of us would venture into the end toilet cubicle in the main loos because it was haunted by a skeleton. At that young age (5+), we didn’t realise the flaw in that theory but the image painted by bigger children was vivid enough to keep us out.

Nobody ever did ‘go down the end’ but if you were unlucky enough to get stuck in the cubicle next to it, you knew you had to do the world’s quickest wee lest a bony hand grabbed you from the side. No amount of dares or light bullying ever persuaded me into the skeleton’s territory. I wonder if he/she’s still there?

Crying Mary Magdalene statue

In the same school when we were a bit more mature (aka 7 or 8), somebody claimed the Mary Magdalene statue in the rookery was weeping tears. In my memory, I think they said bloody tears but I don’t trust myself on the details, and this isn’t The Exorcist.

This rumour led to us standing for hours with our faces pressed against the fence trying to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon. It never happened obvs but the silence would occasionally be punctuated by one of us swearing down that the statue had moved, ever so slightly. I think I’ve mentioned before that the school was attached to a nunnery which lent it a supernatural feel by default. The nuns were creepy old women who never smiled and I was afraid to look directly at them in the corridors.

I can’t describe the feeling I used to get in some of our quieter lessons. Sometimes it would feel like time had slowed and there was a presence in the room, standing over us as we collectively sensed it at the exact same moment. That place was definitely haunted despite no evidence to back it up. I’d love to have a little nose around there now.

Witch house

At the top of our road there used to be a house we referred to as a mansion, which in hindsight was completely inaccurate. It was a normal house really but grander than ours. There was some lore surrounding the house which – if the story is true – used to be inhabited by a coven of witches. We always looked up into the top windows whenever we passed, hoping we’d see one but alas it was never to be. Still it always felt extra ookie to walk past at night.

Apparently there was (and is still perhaps) a chapel in one of the upstairs rooms, used solely for Satanic ritual. What else, eh?

The old man and the cadaver

On the end of my friend Catherine’s road stood a run down old bungalow with an overgrown garden. Apparently the poor bugger that lived inside (and shuffled about outside on a very rare afternoon) had lost his wife years before. Tale told that he never reported her death and slept with her body beside him until the day he shuffled off this mortal coil to join her. As kids we’d try to get as close to the home as possible for a macabre glimpse of the lady of the house – but again that never came to fruition either.

I swear all small towns have a story like this one in their repertoire. In fact talking about this with a friend prompted me to think about all these creepy little stories, which in the cold light of day aren’t that spooky at all. But as a kid with an imagination and very little else to think about, these theories dominated everything and I so wanted it all to be true. Year later I did see a ghost in my friend Clare’s bedroom. I woke to him standing over me as I slept on the floor, he was tall and skinny, and wearing a top hat. I did what any brave and courageous ginger kid would of done, I clamped my eyes firmly shut and went straight back to sleep.

Do you have any spooky childhood stories/memories? I’d love to hear them.