Monday, 12 March 2012


By ghost stories real do I mean real ghost stories?  I suppose so, although there seems to me to be a subtle difference between the two phrases.

Today I want to share with you the story of a ghost that haunted a newspaper office in Totnes when the premises were situated in Fore Street.  Two brothers who ran the Totnes Times (founded in 1860 by Theodore Hannaford) lived with and were cared for by their sister Kate.

It is she - according to Bob Mann in his little book The Ghosts of Totnes - who's believed to have haunted the premises where for more than 100 years this newspaper was written, edited and printed. It was a few years after her death that the haunting began and she especially favored the narrow passage between the offices and the printing works.

People moving to and fro often sensed her presence, although her chief preoccupation seemed to be rearranging pieces of copy and occasionally making them disappear.  A journalist working for the paper back in the 1960s remembers: "I was working late with a colleague, correcting proofs, when we distinctly heard footsteps in the passage.  Knowing that every door was locked I went down the stairs, but found no one there.  The next morning several pieces of copy were missing.  This sort of thing happened on many occasions and lots of people felt that there was an unseen 'someone' in the building."

Was Kate to blame?  Whether she was, or not, she was generally felt to be friendly - if a bit mischievous!

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