Anita Frank, author of the captivating and haunting ghost story The Lost Ones, is here on the blog discussing the inspiration by her novel. Now out in paperback!
Some houses are NEVER at peace…
Footsteps. Smashing glass. Doors opening of their own accord. A distinctive smell lingering in a little-used room…
These unsettling phenomena all occur within the pages of my debut novel The Lost Ones – a ghost story set in an English country house during the First World War – but they also plagued the isolated farmhouse in Shropshire where I grew up. With this background, I have never doubted the existence of ghosts, but what fascinates me most is the question of why a spirit might linger – and this is reflected in the mystery that lies at the heart of my book. I have yet to solve the mystery of our old home.
Whilst many people had inexplicable experiences there, only my mother encountered an apparition. One night, announced by the distinct rustling of taffeta, a woman walked through her bedroom, dressed in an exquisite black outfit from a bygone era, topped by a veiled bowler hat. We have long presumed the woman’s outfit reflected a state of mourning, and the later discovery that three brothers took their own lives at the property in the early 1900s seems to lend weight to this theory. Grief and haunted houses often go hand in hand, with untimely deaths, sadness and remorse being common characteristics. The Great War, therefore, struck me as a fitting backdrop to a ghost story. So few remained untouched by loss, and many clung to the hope that somehow, somewhere beyond this realm, their fallen loved ones continued to exist. There were numerous reports of dead soldiers appearing to friends and family, and Spiritualism enjoyed a rise in popularity, with its proponents taking comfort from the reassuring messages apparently received from ‘the other side’.
It has been suggested that just as nuclear energy can never be destroyed, the electricity that human beings produce might also be indestructible – hence ghosts. Certainly, this would play into the Stone Tape theory – that our electrical emissions are somehow absorbed by the fabric around us and are later released when conditions become favourable. Despite numerous attempts, science has never proven the existence of the paranormal – but it has never succeeded in categorically disproving it either. There are still so many things we are unable to explain. Maybe one day science will fill in those gaps. Maybe one day it will confirm that ghosts do indeed walk among us.
I, for one, would not be surprised.