As it is halloween, we thought why not write a post about a local haunting. But this one is a post with a difference because it happened first hand to the Kent Arboreal team on a job in Hoath. To protect the privacy of the customer, we'll not mention their names nor the exact location.
Hoath is a little village near Canterbury and Sturry, out on the old marshes that were once the Wantsum channel. A few years ago in 2014, Kent Arboreal were called to a job in a beautiful house there. The house was a converted barn and had been bought by the new owners who wanted some work to be done there before moving in as is often the case. So the first step was to visit the property and take a look to come up with a price for the job. There was a great deal of land surrounding the property with extensive gardens that had fallen into a state of disrepair. After visiting the property, Ben returned saying that the place gave him the creeps and that although it was empty and isolated, several hundred yards from the next dwelling, he felt like he was being watched. Obviously, we all laughed at him, he priced the job, which was a big one and would need us to be on site for about five days, and forgot about the whole thing.
As it turned out, we were given the contract for the garden clearance and various tree works, and we booked in for a few weeks time. When we arrived on site, there was a crew of builders there already, who were working inside the house, and living there for a couple of weeks while they carried out the renovations. When we arrived, we said our hellos, and John asked what they thought of the house. The reply was;
"It's a lovely place, but it's haunted to $*%^!"
We laughed and asked why they thought that and they told us that all night they could hear banging coming from empty rooms, their tools were being moved around, they heard whispering, and one had even received a phone call from a distant voice that couldn't be understood, from the number 000000000. He showed us the call record to prove it on his mobile phone.
Interested, but till not entirely convinced, we got on with our work. Joe told us that the back courtyard garden gave him the willies, but apart from that, day one was uneventful.
On day two, it was quiet in the morning, then in the afternoon, I went inside for a coffee. While I was there, there was knocking sounds coming from one of the back rooms. Nobody was in there, but it could well have been someone in one of the garden areas knocking against the wooden walls from outside while doing some job or another. But then there was a sound like wallpaper being unrolled, or a poster falling off a wall, something like that. It came from the hall, then out of the hall, a shadow shot through the kitchen and out of the front door. I was alone in the house at the time, and after looking at every angle, the only way the shadow could have been cast was by the kitchen lights in the middle of the room, but there was nothing to cast it. I was starting to become a believer.
On day three, Paul, one of the builders, was having an argument with somebody on the phone. When he hung up he said;
"I can't believe that! The driver from the skip company says he won't come here to pick up the skip unless we can promise there's someone on site to meet him because he reckons he saw something here when he dropped the skip off before we got here and it's definitely haunted."
When he did arrive, he said that when he dropped the skip off the first time, he knew the place was empty but he saw someone moving around in there, and while he was unloading the skip the radio in his lorry came on loud with a load of static.
Day four was quiet apart from the knocking and banging which we'd all got used to by then, even though it was louder than before, and definitely not one of us messing about. On day five a guy turned up to put in a new tv ariel and that involved some wiring being fitted in the back room where most of the noises came from. A few hours in, he was having a coffee with everyone else in the kitchen, and said that he'd be glad when he was done, because that room was creeping him out. He said that he was sure he kept hearing someone walking around in there but there was nobody inside the house, let alone in that room. The final thing that happened while we were working there, was that another contractor turned up to do some light fittings, and parked outside the house. While he was in there, his van radio came on really loud with a lot of static, just like the skip driver had said happened when he was there before.
A few weeks after we'd been there, the new owners had moved in, and John and I went over to visit them and settle up the bill one evening after work. John was curious, and asked the owner if he was enjoying living there. He obviously read between the lines a bit, maybe he'd already been asked about the place by one of the other contractors, and he responded by saying;
"It's a beautiful house, but I must say, it takes on a completely different feeling at night. It's not such a nice place after it gets dark."
We returned to work there a couple more times on smaller jobs, but as the clients were living there full time by then, we didn't spend much time in the actual house itself, but on one occasion, we were in the kitchen in the evening, having a cup of tea with the owner, when from the back room there was a huge crash, like a wardrobe being pushed over. The owner just put his finger up and whispered;
"Please just pretend you didn't hear that. We don't want the children to be scared."