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  • Karen Hamilton-Viall

Ghostly flatmate

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

I've had several experiences with ghosts in my life. I'm going to start with the first and most prolonged experience. The one that first made me believe in ghosts. When I was nineteen, back in the early 1990s, I moved out of home and into a flat in Bromley, Kent. The house was, I think either Victorian or Edwardian although I never knew its history. It was divided into two flats. My flat was on the top floor of the house and there was a shared communal hallway with the flat below. I moved in originally with an ex boyfriend and one of the men who worked in his restaurant. I'd moved out as I'd landed a job just five minutes around the corner and had no transport of my own. My shift started at 7.00am and finding transport to get me to work that early would be difficult, as it involved two bus changes and a walk. To save my dad driving me, my friend said he had a room spare to rent. We each had a bedroom, there was a small hallway, a kitchen and a bathroom. within a couple of months I'd decided that the job wasn't for me and I quit. This meant that I was at home for long periods of time as I looked for a new job.

The first phenomenon I noticed was footsteps on the stairs leading up to our flat. Heavy footsteps would go up the stairs and stop. You'd expect to hear the door of the flat open but it didn't, then a minute later the footsteps would start again. If investigated, nobody would be there. This happened countless times. I even remember laughing at it one night with my boyfriend as we lay in bed. We didn't take it too seriously to start with. When people were asked on visiting the house for the first time if they found anything odd, they would always say, "I feel really uncomfortable on the stairs. I try to run up them as quickly as possible."

The next incidents happened to me when I was alone. There were curious incidents such as a smoke alarm going off, when no cooking was being done and I was in my bedroom with nobody else there. Then one day, I was walking from the bedroom to the kitchen. To do this I had to pass the bathroom. The door was open, and as I walked past, I saw a figure outlined against the bright light of the bathroom window. "Hello H....." I said and carried on walking past. Then I recalled I wanted to speak to him about something and I walked backwards the few feet to the door. When I looked, nobody was there. I clearly recall looking behind the door. Then I proceeded to look through every room of the house, investigating my flatmates rooms as well as my own. I looked under the beds but nobody was to be found. I'd literally only gone about three foot past the door.

The most alarming occurrence was when I was in my room on my own one day. I could feel a tension in the air. I can only describe it as being akin to the atmosphere before a great lightning storm is about to start. As I sat on my bed, a small mirror pinged off the wall towards the other side of the room. Then the arms of the long sleeve t-shirt I had hanging on the back of my door lifted up in the air, as ghostly arms had filled them and the arms were lifting up to the heavens. I ran across to the t-shirt, dragged it off the hangar, threw it on the ground, and stomped on it a number of times. This was the largest and most undeniable incident. I believed that I was alone in the flat but I had to make sure. I checked that there were no strings attached to the t-shirt and no one was playing a prank on me. Then, I again checked every room of the house. Nobody was there. I walked out the flat, as I was too scared to be alone that day.

I felt the same tension at other times. In the end, shortly after this incident, I told the poltergeist that I acknowledged its existence but I had to live there too as I had nowhere else to go. I also had a vivid, dream one night, of the figure standing in my doorway with light glowing behind it, asking me to carry out some task for it. I recall looking at it and saying that I would do as it asked and it shut the door. When i woke the next day, my door was bolted, which is why I assume this was a dream. I mention it as the dream was so odd and vivid and I could see every detail of the room including the way I'd rearranged my bed recently.

I was not brought up with any religion by my family, just the usual school teachings but I can recall promising that I would say prayers for the soul of the man who shared my flat. I have kept to that promise, I light candles and say prayers whenever I visit churches, especially famous ones, such as St Peters in the Vatican city.

For most of the time that I lived there, which I think was somewhere between six months to a year (long enough for me to have three short time boyfriends), the flat downstairs was unoccupied. Although a woman did live there for a couple of months, who had a boyfriend who occasionally visited. The worst activity for me was after she'd moved out. I wish now I'd asked her why she moved. Things definitely improved after I made my peace with the ghost and started respecting, rather than dismissing it. Now over twenty-five years on, I still think about him and wonder if he has found his peace at last. I truly hope so.

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