I’ve seen a few spectres in my life, the most recent last year, just before New Year’s Eve. We were invited to stay with some friends in Devon. Recently restored, the house is beautiful. My daughter’s room was the sweetest: just down the corridor from ours.
The first night we all slept soundly, replete with food and wine and gossip. On the second night we retired slightly earlier. I awoke at around 2 a.m. Seeing a light flickering, I walked down the corridor to my daughter’s room. She was wide awake, watching a film on my laptop. She too had woken up and couldn’t get back to sleep.
I closed the laptop and straightened out the bedclothes. I then tucked her up and sat on the edge of her bed to stroke her hair. As I sat there, half snoozing, I reflected that the room felt rather chilly. Yet the window was shut tight. Strange. By now my daughter’s eyes were closed, and she was drifting off. I pulled the duvet up around her. ‘Night, darling,’ I whispered. ‘Night, night, Mummy,’ she said, and half opened her eyes.
Her pupils widened in fear. Tears sprang out of nowhere. ‘Mummy, what’s wrong with your face?’ she cried, sinking beneath the covers. I felt a rush of cold air down my spine and a thud in my ears, like a door being slammed a long way away.
My back felt icy. Instinctively, I turned around. It was directly behind me; an absence of warmth and light. Something ancient and evidently rather irritable. Instinctively, I stood up, brushing the air away.
There was a loud hum, as though the room were vibrating and then, just like that, it was gone. Back to normal. We looked at each other. ‘What did you see?’ I asked. ‘Your face,’ replied my daughter, ‘It wasn’t you. It was like… like someone else was looking at me through your eyes.’
This is an extract from the Christmas issue of the Spectator, out now. To read more ghost stories, click here