Editor’s letter: Do you believe in ghosts?

When I posed that question to the YOU team, midway through creating this Halloween Special dedicated to all things paranormal, the responses were a 50-50 split. Half the office said that while they’d love to be open-minded enough to believe, their cynical brains couldn’t quite make that mental leap. Let’s be honest, there’s usually a perfectly rational explanation for a sudden temperature change or a strange knocking sound – why would you automatically assume a ghostly presence?

The other half of the office regaled me with tales of unexplained noises, mysterious presences and things going bump in the night.

Art director Chloe, for instance, became convinced her teenage home was haunted when she heard a voice call her name in an empty house. Then her mum fell down the stairs, but afterwards said she felt as though she had been pushed. Unsurprisingly, they moved house shortly after…

Meanwhile, acting bookings editor Clara has ‘not haunted’ at the top of her ideal home checklist: ‘If I thought there was a ghost in my house I would move without hesitation.’

Astonishingly, a teenage Shirley Hitchings did not move out of her South London family home in 1956 when her entire life was consumed by a mysterious and powerful force. Her mind-boggling story here really is the stuff of 70s horror movies – except there was nothing fictional about the messages scrawled on Shirley’s living room walls or the objects that flew off shelves of their own accord. And 65 years on, even the most sceptical investigators of the Battersea Poltergeist, as the force was dubbed, have failed to come up with a rational explanation for all the bizarre goings-on.

Until reading Shirley’s enthralling account, I would have put myself with the 50 per cent of the office who are nonbelievers but now I’m not so sure.

Whether you’re a believer or not, this issue is packed with gripping tales of paranormal activity – from exploring what happens to us when we die through the stories of those who’ve had a near-death experience, to poignant signs sent by lost loved ones.

I may be a sceptic at heart but, like most people, I do love a good ghost story – Susan Hill’s spine-chillingly brilliant The Woman in Black is among my favourite books. Read it and be prepared for the fright of your life!

So I hope you too find plenty to fascinate and entertain in this issue. And if you’ve ever had an unexplained paranormal experience please do tell us all about it at the email address on the right – I’d love to hear your stories.


Editor’s Picks:

A few things I’m coveting this week

byredo young rose

cabbage bowl

Well, they do say eat your greens… Bowl, £10.50, arket.com


Winter walks – I’m ready for you. Boots, £175, dunelondon.com