my father’s father – a clever learned man who liked to present himself as bluff, sporty and no-nonsense – always wanted to meet a ghost: he planned to ask a series of tough questions, he claimed, about how they spent the rest of their time, why they bothered, the various logical-scientific conundra (LSCs) involved

of course, by courtesy of one of the more famous LSCs, those directly involved in the haunting game knew to avoid him, and successfully did so

in fact no one in our family (to my admittedly merely linear knowledge) has EVER encountered any kind of beyond-the-grave being or supernatural activity

all of which is strange, because the house my parents bought in 1972, which my dad still lives in, is by all accounts (except, like, OURS) spectre-infested: there is, insist the (now very grown-up) children of the previous owners, a “DARK GENTLEMAN” who flits along the landing, and in and out of two or three of the rooms off it. in all our years there, none of us had spotted or even felt such a presence, and – insofaras we thought about it at ALL – cheerfully recalled the old folk tale of a family, plagued by a boggart, who gave up and left home: a a neighbour, seeing them with all their furniture packed into the cart, said “so you’re off then?” and the boggart, poking its head up from among the furniture, said “yes, we’re moving to a nice new house across town…” ie we convinced ourselves, the DARK GENTLEMAN had clambered into our predecessors’ pantechnicon and moved away with them

then, about two and a half years ago, while becky and i were on holiday in wales with our invalid parents, we learnt from one of our regular carers – who had said she would pop in while we away to catch up with some domestic chores – that she had been chased away by a “presence” which turned the lights on and off… um ok (though we did slightly sort of briefly wonder if this was an excuse for not getting round to the promised chores, except no excuse wz really needed, beyond “I’m afraid i didn’t have time”): mulling over this (rather minor) potential LCS, we concluded that the DARK GENTLEMAN had not gone away w.our predecessors but instead run away to hide in the nearby wood, only coming out to haunt, sadly and feebly, when none of us were around to know

then after mum died, earlier this year, we discovered this same carer had for some time been seriously abusing the family’s trust, lying to us and generally messing about — and while she managed to present a face to us, when confronted, that wz boldly unguilty and injured, she wz apparently (ie other ppl told us) unwilling to spend any time ALONE in the house, bcz of the ghosts switching the lights on and off, and generally pestering and menacing her!! so we have changed our minds AGAIN abt the DARK GENTLEMAN