1977 - 1979

54 - 56


“Many cases of so-called hauntings can be explained without resorting to the supernatural. After more than thirty years’ experience of hauntings, I set about re-examining ten celebrated cases,

to discover whether it is possible to clear away some of the cobwebs of confusion, and re-examine the evidence.”

Hauntings: New Light on the Greatest True Stories of the World

“Long regarded as one of the best authenticated cases of haunting ever investigated, the ‘Morton Ghost’ manifested

 from June 1882 until about 1886.”

“The house was and still is situated in Pittville Circus Road, Cheltenham.”

In June 1882, a tenant named Rosina Despard “thought she heard someone outside her bedroom door.

She opened it and at first saw no one.”

“But on fetching a candle and proceeding a few steps along the passage, she saw the figure of a tall lady, dressed in black, standing at the head of the stairs.”

“After a moment the figure descended the stairs, but then her candle went out and ‘being unable to see more’, she returned to her room.”

Andrew MacKenzie at the foot of the haunted staircase during his investigation for the SPR (Society for Psychical Research), which he published the results of in The Unexplained (1966)

“During the next two years, Rosina saw the same figure ‘about half a dozen times’, and kept an almost daily record of the ‘ghost’s’ activities.”

“She described the figure as being that of a lady in widow’s dress, with her face hidden in a handkerchief held in her right hand.”

“All available evidence is that most of the occupants saw the distinct figure of a woman - a figure that ‘almost spoke’ on one or two occasions.”

“Perhaps the figure they saw may indeed have been as solid and real; no one seems to have considered the possibility of the figure being a real person.”

This enduring case is a likely inspiration for Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.

Underwood discusses the most common types of ghosts.

1977 is also the year that Stephen King publishes The Shining. He was influenced by Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House,

itself inspired by Borley Rectory.

The story came to King while he and his wife stay at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. 

They find themselves to be the only guests.

They are checked into room 217.