It was February 1967 when we moved to High Ham. I was six years old. The memories of the move remain vivid.
Moving away from the family farm on which I had spent my early years was something I dreaded. The distance of a few miles seemed far greater, such was the upheaval in my life. It meant a different school and the loss of the familiar security of the daily life of the farmyard.
More than the upset caused by the move, there was the fear created by the house to which we were moving. Built in the late-1920s, it was only forty years old, but it came with a fact that frightened a six year old boy – a previous occupant had died as a young woman. It had been through illness rather than an accident or crime, but that did not change the reality that we were moving into a house that I feared might be haunted.
Of course, there was no logic in the fear, the farm from which we were moving dated from mid-Victorian times, it had a far greater potential for ghosts and had seen various tragedies, but logic is not a strong characteristic of the thought processes of a six year old.
Ghosts were the only thing I feared more than aliens. Each night, I would pull my sheet and blankets up over my head, although the difficulty of breathing caused by asthma meant staying beneath the covers was not feasible for very long.
Not once did I encounter a sight or noise or movement that might have been a ghost. Even the most active and fear-filled of imaginations did not conjure any spectres.
Walking up the stairs this evening, there was a sense of a movement, a shadow, at the top of the stairs. No shape or form, simply a moment of shade across the light.
There was no-one else upstairs. Work commitments and army cadet camp mean there are only three of us in the house and neither of the other two persons currently have the physical capacity to climb the stairs.
Of course, it wasn’t a ghost. There is an idea in theoretical physics that time happens all at once, that ideas of past, present and future are a convenient illusion to stop everything piling up. If there was a movement, then the person responsible was not a ghost, they were simply someone living in their own moment whose shadow was glimpsed in my moment.
If someone could have suggested that to me when I was six, it would have saved a lot of wheezy breathing.