Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Effect of Raised Floors on Ghosts

Fortean Times [UK] 233 (April 2008), p. 71.


Ghost foreshortened

A friend of my mother lived for many years in an old house beside the canal in Marple, Cheshire. She claimed that the upper rooms of the house were haunted by what appeared to be the ghost of a child. Other members of her family had also seen this apparition without distress or alarm. The occasional visitations were taken as part of the old building's character, along with the gurgling plumbing and creaking timbers.

Some years ago, builders working inside the house discovered that the ceilings in the downstairs rooms had been raised by about two feet (60cm), with the result that the floors in the upper rooms were now two feet higher. In the 18th century, many aspiring middle-class families did this to make their ground floor rooms appear 'grander'.

My mother's friend thought nothing of it until one evening as she was preparing for bed the ghostly visitor made an appearance, drifting out of one wall, floating across the room and disappearing. As she looked on, she realised that the figure was not a child at all but a fully-grown adult walking on a floor two feet lower than it is now. The 'memory' of the ghost was of something that existed 200 years ago but had long since been removed.

Martyn Day
Skopje, Macedonia

Harry Price, Poltergeist Over England. London: Country Life Ltd., 1945, p. 113.

On October 23rd, 1929, Sir Charles Oman, M.P., gave a lecture to a revived Oxford University S.P.R. [Society for Psychical Research -- bc] and was asked by Dr. R. H. Maret whether there was any truth in the story that Archbishop Laud still haunted St. John's College. He had been told that the level of the floor had been changed and now Laud was only to be seen from the knees upwards. Sir Charles replied that it was noises (thumps, bangs, and 'sounds of dragging') that had been heard -- the ghost had not been seen.

Elizabeth Tucker, Campus Legends. A Handbook. Westport, Conn. & London: Greenwood Press, 2005, p. 71.

Cazenovia College has had two dorm fires in the same residence hall over the years of the college's existence. After the first fire the dorm was rebuilt so that it looked exactly like the one that was lost to the fire. The second fire killed a girl who couldn't get out of the building in time. When the building was rebuilt the dimensions of the building were changed. The floors were now a foot higher than they were in the original building. The residents of the new building over the years have reported hearing a girl crying through the halls at night.

Also in the new building there is a common area with book shelves, and it has been reported that the girl can be seen throwing books off the shelves, but over there, her feet are not present because she died in the old building where the floors were a foot higher than they are now.

Hans Holzer, Ghosts: True Encounters With the World Beyond (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 1997), p. 337.

[Holzer took a photo in Winchester Cathedral that showed a "transparent group or rather procession of hooded monks, seen from the rear, evidently walking somewhat below the present level of the church floor. I checked and found out that the floor used to be below its present level, so the ghostly monks would be walking on the floor level they knew, not ours." See also pp. 734-6.]