I was recently invited by Scott and Rebecca Simpson to a night of ghost hunting at Brighton’s most haunted house, the handsome Edwardian Preston Manor.

Preston Manor
Preston Manor – the most haunted house in Brighton.
(No mean title in a city full of ghosts!)

The house featured in a recent episode of “Most Haunted” and this was their web report: “For the episode filmed at Preston Manor, the TV crew experienced one of their most active nights of paranormal activity. Yvette Fielding, the show’s host, said ‘We were thrilled by our experiences at Preston Manor. The house has a fascinating history and our investigations were more than fully rewarded. Karl is convinced he was confronted by the Manor’s White Lady!’

Drawing Room
The drawing room – very spooky and atmospheric

Tales of ghostly sightings and supernatural experiences at Preston Manor go back through history, including Sister Agnes, the medieval nun who helped travellers on their way; a body buried under the patio; a disembodied hand floating by the four-poster bed; the White Lady and the elegant Lady in Grey who descends the grand staircase with nowhere to go. One friendly ghost was even seen trying out a child’s toy tractor during the 1960s.

The reports continue with modern day sightings of non-existent visitors, doors locking themselves and lights turning off for no reason, and the ghostly hand holding onto a doorknob.

So full of expectations, and stomachs full of butterflies, Helen (who has been developing as a medium) and I went along, not armed with any ectoplasm-nuking gear, but a small torch and a camera…

Fellow Ghostbusters
Some of my fellow ghostbusters for the night

The place certainly has a spooky atmosphere. We were told of the son of the original owners, Mad Jack, who likes to pinch ladies’ bottoms and plays a mean trick with cameras, by draining their batteries for his energy, but perhaps he reckoned he had met his match that night and kept on best behaviour…

Mad Jack
Mad Jack, the wayward son, whose ghost likes
to lift ladies’ skirts and pinch their bottoms…

I did have one extremely uncomfortable moment, when we went in a child’s bedroom, pictured below. Helen and I both felt very bad vibes in there – seriously not a room I would have wanted to sleep in. Afterwards we were told a seven-year old girl had died in this room, and there is now frequent poltergeist activity, with the furniture being moved around during then night, when the house is locked and alarmed.

Child's Room
The haunted child’s room

As many of you know I’ve long been fascinated by the paranormal and have a very open mind. Our bodies give off 2 kilowatts of energy every day, and I’m sure some of that energy must remain behind, trapped in the walls, floors, ceilings of buildings we have been in. Having lived in two haunted houses, I am one hundred percent certain that ghosts exists.

Beginning of spirits contact
The team sitting around a table ready to try to summon the spirits

What I am less certain about is whether they are evidence of an afterlife, or merely a passive replay of the energy of a particular person. There are countless such sightings, from too many people, for them all to be dismissed as fancy. But normally these ghosts do very little, such as simply move across a room, in the same path each time they are seen. What intrigues me far more is the concept of the “intelligent” ghost, such as the ghost of Hamlet’s father, who tells him how he was murdered and what he needs to do. Sightings such as these are incredibly rare, but they have been known. As Elizabeth Bowen once wrote along the lines, “Of all the thousands upon thousands of sightings of (intelligent) ghosts throughout the history of the human race, it only needs one to be proven – just one – and our perceptions of our world would be changed for ever.”