It’s the end of October so what better time to address a question that we have been asked more times than we’ve made mouth-watering hot dinners? Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there is always something fascinating about a building that predates the living, and one that predates the great-grandparents of the living stirs more feelings than most. Well, I am sorry to report that there are certainly no definite repetitive stories about ghosts of owners past cropping up on regular occasions, headless horsemen, or apparitions walking through walls. However, The Grove has had its share of unexplained goings on, a couple of which I will share here.
The first involved a young man – now working in Norwich as a Rural Dean – and light switches. The man, let’s call him Darren, for argument’s sake, was staying in what is now the reception, formally a bedroom, and before that “The Gun Room”. Darren lived in The Grove in the early 1990s, while he was still in education, and on this occasion he had been entrusted to lock up; a task which he took very seriously. After checking all the residents were in for the night and locking the doors, Darren proceeded to switch off the lights before going to bed. This is where things started to turn strange. The main landing on the front of the house, outside rooms 1 to 6, has an internal window leading onto the main hall, where the Gun Room is situated. Darren visited the main landing, and the other landings on the east and west of the building before returning to the main hall. There, he saw a light from the main landing shining through the internal window. Thinking this a little odd, Darren revisited the main landing, making sure that he hadn’t forgotten the light before returning to the hall. When he got down the stairs, the light was on again. Three times, Darren went to turn that light off that evening, and three times it mysteriously turned back on again. Having had enough, the trainee vicar, yet to be trained in the art of exorcism, decided to go to bed and lock his door. To our knowledge, this has never happened again, or since.
The second incident involves a television and an empty room. This occurred two years ago, and was brought to our knowledge when a guest checked out and informed us that everything was fantastic about his stay except for his noisy neighbour, who kept turning the television on loudly in the middle of the night. Not too much unusual about that you might think, except that the surrounding bedrooms were unoccupied. This happened two nights in a row, with different guests. In the morning, the television was happily on standby, the timer not set. Again, to this day, this has never been repeated.
In the grand scheme of things, these are clearly not up there with Britain’s scariest unexplained paranormal activities, but they are true and they are our little contribution to this ghostly time of year. Needless to say, for a house that dates back to well beyond 1797, when it was rebuilt, it must have many more stories, but unfortunately if the walls do have ears, they don’t have tongues to tell us all those stories with, which is just as well as starters, mains and desserts would be going missing left right and centre every time we turned our backs.
As for Darren, well, he always did have a good imagination.