I’d never heard of the composer before, which was hardly surprising as he’d died in 1961, but apparently he was famous. There was even a brass plaque confirming he’d once lived there. I mentioned him to an older work colleague one day. ‘Oh, Percy Grainger,’ she said. ‘Amazing pianist – and a well known sadomasochist!’ So the boys weren’t lying to me about the previous occupant. In fact, it wasn’t long before I discovered Percy had never left.
We would often hear beautiful classical music playing in the middle of the night, followed by footsteps walking up and down the hallway. Particularly eerie was the cold room. All the old houses had one before refrigeration was invented. It was a room off the dining area with big meat hooks screwed into a shelf. Sometimes you could walk in easily but other times, even the strongest male couldn’t budge the door.
One day I got a carpenter friend to have a look at it. ‘There’s no logical reason for it not to open,’ he said, scratching his head. I looked at the meat hooks and shuddered! Was this Percy’s favourite room?
Strangely, whenever I hung my washing out in the backyard, I could swear there was a little boy sitting under the tree, watching me. I told a housemate about him. ‘Yes, I’ve seen him too,’ he said. ‘Weird, huh?’
In fact, we all used to get a bit spooked but made jokes to stop ourselves freaking out. And as there were four of us living in the house, none of us were alone very often. That is until one Friday night. I came home from work and no-one was in.
I could swear there was a little boy sitting under the tree, watching me.
Getting ready to go out with some friends, I pumped up the music and laid out my clothes on the bed. As soon as I got in the shower, I heard footsteps outside the door. I called out, but no-one answered. Thinking I must have just imagined it, I began washing my hair. Suddenly, the bathroom door opened… and a cold chill filled the air.
Terrified, I covered myself with a towel and ran down the hall to my bedroom. I felt someone following me – and he was laughing at my distress! I grabbed my clothes and ran straight out the front door. Then I sat in my car, heart pounding, wearing only a towel and with frothy shampoo in my hair.
Glancing nervously back at the house I could see through our glass panelled front door the silhouette of a man with a hat looking back at me!
‘Oh my goodness,’ I cried, and sped straight to my friend’s house. She couldn’t believe it when I arrived on her doorstep in just a towel.
I left the share house soon after as I never felt safe there again. I didn’t relish an encounter in the shower with that randy ghost again – even if he was famous!