A 1934 ghost hunt with a spiritualist medium

by MJ Wayland

While exploring the archives there are many tales of students, groups of gentlemen and spiritualists ghost hunting in haunted houses, lanes and churches.

One such house that came to the attention of national newspapers was a “Haunted House” in New Hall Lane, Preston. The area has long since been levelled and redeveloped, the likelihood is that where once the house stood, now stands an Aldi superstore or student accommodation.

However in December 1934 the house opened its doors to ghost hunters and spiritualists. The owner George Moss did not believe in ghosts and had lived there for twenty years, “without seeing anything queer”.

A workman is positive he saw a ghost, and other was scared badly during an all-night vigil in the house at the weekend…..as a sequel to the workman’s story of a woman in a long white shroud rising from the floor of the room, four men kept watch on Friday night

wrote The Evening Telegraph on December 17th 1934.

The newspaper continued,

“a spiritualist was chosen to command the proceedings, he mentioned that before he came a feeling of strangulation came over him, and one of his spirit guides had told him that the women they were going to see met her death with strangulation.”

The spiritualist’s guidance continued to influence the proceedings and at midnight the spiritualist claimed he could see the ghost of the woman. She was between 42 and 43, with black hair coiling over her shoulders. Others in the ghost hunting party got a shock when they were told to concentrate on a dark corner, for the medium’s body seemed to disappear, while his face changed into that of a woman. (“Over-shadowing? An alleged phenomenon where a spirit inhabits a medium’s body and changes facial features.) One of the ghost hunters told the newspaper that the woman was middle-aged, while another said that she was very old – confirming that this was a case of suggestion and pareidolia.

“Later young men ruined the atmosphere by flashing lights into the room from the street outside. The expert went home and the others remained some hours longer but saw nothing.”

George Moss told a reporter that two of his staff had been scared during the ghost hunt, but “nevertheless, my own view is that the ghost is a myth. I feel convinced that what the workman saw was a weird shadow caused by the lights of a passing motor.”

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