This was indeed a strange case, a large house in Goodwins Rd. in the town of Kings Lynn, which is known to locals as the “armpit of England”, which is how it looks on the map. It was the home to Shirley, a third generation medium, and on occasion her mother would speak of her friend, the famous Helen Duncan who was imprisoned during W.W.II for accurately predicting the truth on British shipping losses. When our own government wanted the news suppressed.

Shirley the present householder, would often tell of the houses previous occupant now long dead, a certain Mrs. Ambrose, who would walk the house and move things about, and be a general spirit nuisance.

So accepted was this ghostly Mrs Ambrose that Shirley would chat away to her on a regular basis, while doing her housework.

The house was a regular drop in point for all the local spiritualists for a chat, cup of tea and if you were lucky, a slice of her home made “ucky cake” made from an old Scottish family recipe, whose secret formula she would never divulge.

One day a knock on her door had brought several large policemen, who asked if they could use her small back bedroom to watch from the window, which overlooked a house nearby frequented by the usual crowd of strange odd-bodds, the general unwashed socialist brigade, football obsessives, small time drug traffickers, and a shifty estate agent type.

When she exclaimed that this was the room of the dead Mrs. Ambrose, the policemen stifled back a laugh, however she agreed that one could stop over on a “nightwatch.”

All went well until a large new policeman arrived at her door and was a little dismissive when she told him it was the dead Mrs. Ambrose’s bedroom, and not to upset her.

Some time into the night a large shaken, upset and very white looking policeman emerged quickly from the room and blurted out that he had been watching in the dark from behind the curtains when he became aware of a deep rasping breathing just behind him in the dark, and was frightened he had angered the ghost of Mrs. Ambrose, so with his knees shaking and white in the face, he had rushed to ask about the scary breathing he heard in the room.

Shirley the medium tried to pacify him without success, until finally she took him back into the room and showed him “spot.”

Spot was her large tabby cat who was often to be found sneaking in to any open bedroom to sleep on the bed, and he tended to have a loud snore.

On learning that he had in fact been haunted by “spot the tabby cat” the large shaken policeman was not amused, and expressly forbad her to tell any of the other policemen, lest he would never live it down.

But after some tea and “ucky cake” he said he saw the funny side of things, but the moral of the story is always to look for a rational explanation first.

The good news was that “spot the cat” became the hero of both the local spiritualist church, and the police station.

T Stokes - Lecturer in Paranormal Studies

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