Editor’s Letter: ‘Walls can talk, believe me…’

I’ll be honest with you: when I first read our feature ‘What’s Your Home Trying to Tell You?’ on page 44, I thought it all sounded a bit mad and far-fetched. But then I remembered my own brush with having a house ‘speak’ to me.

I was house-hunting with my husband, Ross, and, from the outside, this particular Southeast London four-bedroom place was very pretty: bay windows covered artfully in wisteria, beautifully appointed sash windows, a cute little porch. It even had its own driveway, which really is a unicorn of a feature in most of London.

The estate agent suggested we start the tour at the top of the house, on the second floor. We hadn’t been inside more than five minutes when I heard the door open and shut downstairs, and then footsteps heading up towards us. I figured the owner had come home and I looked down with a smile fixed on, waiting to say hello. After a few seconds, I realised there was no one there and laughed at myself for hearing things. We headed for the main bedroom and while we were standing in there I heard the exact same thing all over again. A door swinging open and closed, clomping on the stairs. Again, no one there.

Back on the ground floor, the agent opened the door to the cellar and urged me to go down the stairs, promising to follow. The back of my neck crawled. And he took great offence that I did not feel comfortable about going down first.

As we were nearing the end of the tour, he opened the door to the living room with a flourish and a grand announcement about leaving the best until last. ‘The wallpaper is the original from the Victorian era, isn’t it stunning?’

Not the word that immediately sprang to my mind as I surveyed the dark brown paper illustrated with huge jet-black leaves. As soon as we were back in the car, I told Ross, no way is that our new house. And I would swear in court that the house itself told me this. He hadn’t heard any doors or footsteps, although he agreed that the wallpaper was creepy. I’m not claiming I heard a ghost. But the whole place oozed ‘get out’ vibes. Staring into that dark living room, I had the physical sense of wearing someone else’s sopping wet full-length mohair coat. I can’t explain it beyond saying never, before or since, have I walked into a house that was screaming ‘I AM NOT YOURS’. And I happily agreed.

Our story’s writer, Stacey Halls, believes that all houses have an energy, and they communicate it – happiness, sadness, love, anger. I don’t know if there’s anything in it, but the hairs on the back of my neck are up right now even as I write about that place and its terrifying wallpaper. Can you relate? You know me, I love a great sixth-sense story – so if you have your own experiences of getting a message from a house, let me know!

Enjoy the issue.

Editor’s picks:

A few things I’m coveting this week

A perfect ‘dress it up or down’ option. Dress, £79.95, Massimo Dutti

A touch of glamour you can still walk in. Sandals, £160, Sezane

Pretentiousness. Eye-watering wealth. I’m riveted Luxe Listings Sydney, Amazon Prime