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With all due respect, you should all be deeply ashamed of yourselves. With the varied readership Looking For Ghosts attracts, surely some of you have had a ghostly experience? But still our Your Stories section sits emptier than a Ramones reunion gig. It’s embarrassing. Make something up if necessary; we don’t care.

Still, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain. In order to counteract this massive disappointment we have once again been sifting through the internet’s oozing pile of waste for the best, or worst, reader-submitted ghost stories. All for your morbid amusement. We’re too good to you, we really are.

Have you experienced anything as scary as this? Let us know!

The Entity Kept Kissing Me: If you read no other ghost stories this year, we implore you to read this one. It really does beggar belief. There is simply nothing else we can write here that will be funnier than the story itself. Enjoy (although not as much as the guy in the story, please…)

Shadow Wears A Hat: This story starts with a startling claim of “Sixth Sense” proportions although, as the author is keen to point out a number of times, he really isn’t too bothered about it. Until he sees a shadow. Wearing a hat. And then vomits.

A Toast To Grandma: This family cannot seem to come up with a logical explanation for why a wine glass might shatter of its own accord. Probably best to assume a dead old lady did it. That’s what most people would do.

The Glowing Skeleton: Pretty dull, this one. Only included because we were intrigued as to what a “calm” scream would sound like.

My Strange Experience: These girls have a pretty casual approach to conducting a Ouija Board and manage to piss off an entity called Jacob. They couldn’t even “be bothered” to cleanse the house properly afterwards, demonstrating alarming nonchalance in the face of paranormal mayhem.

My Poor Cats: This woman lives in a  trailer-park and her cats started going berserk. Even smearing her home with herbs didn’t help. Who would have thought?

Need Advice On Dealing With Ghosts: The title of this story suggested it was an advert for people who need help coping with problematic spirits, but sadly it isn’t. This is a girl who needs YOUR help. She’s been hearing “jingling” from an early age, and sometimes feels cold. Sounds awful, being that sensitive to the elements. Oh, and she predicts things in dreams to a 90% level of accuracy. She’s only 14, so probably making it up for attention. Teenagers are like that. The best advice we can give her is to stop lying.

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A few months ago, we launched the Looking For Ghosts Grand Ghost Poll to find out if our readership believed in our paranormal pals. You have voted in your multitudes and, although the poll is ongoing, a trend has already emerged.

It seems, unbelievably, that 63% of you believe in ghosts, while 25% of you have seen sense and voted “no”. An unfortunate 12% of readers didn’t know if they were coming or going.

Looking For Ghosts asks you, dear 63%, what’s wrong with you? Where is your evidence? Please let us know. Have you seen a ghost yourself? If so, please tell us all about it on our “Your Stories” page.

Meanwhile, our poll will continue (it’s down the left-hand side of this page). The outcome could still all change.

Inspired by the current football World Cup, Looking For Ghosts has been researching paranormal occurences in the world’s favourite sport.  

The first story that we came across is that of the Ivory Coast, who are currently competing in the World Cup. When the team won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1992 after a marathon penalty shoot-out against Ghana, the supporters credited the victory to the witch doctors who had been employed by the country’s Ministry of Sport to aid the team. However, these witch doctors said that their services had never been paid for, thus cursing the Ivory Coast team. Error.  

Didier Drogba levitating

From then on the Ivory Coast won jot all. A decade later, the country’s defense minister apologised to the witch doctors and offered them $2,000 and asked them to work for the team again. Since then, obviously, the Ivory Coast have won… nothing. If anything, their luck has got worse; they lost the final of the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations to Egypt on penalties. 

However, most of the cases of ghosts linked to the sport come from England, where it has been played for hundreds of years. For instance, the main stand at Crystal Palace’s ground Selhurst Park is reportedly haunted by Billy Callender, a popular goalkeeper for the London club. Callender was deeply affected by the death of his wife from polio and he supposedly hung himself from a crossbar in 1932. His ghost has been seen in the stands and his presence felt in the staff room. 

Selhurst Park itself is supposedly built on an orchard cursed by gypsies. In 1977, then manager and fedora fan Malcolm Allison employed celebrity psychic Romark to lift the curse and subsequently the club’s luck. However, an argument about money ensued and Romark put another curse on Palace. The curse may, or may not, exist to this day. Any excuse for their crap form last season… 

Big Mal

Curses are also rumoured to have hindered performances at Preston North End, Leeds United and Turkish team Fenerbache.  

A boggart is supposed to be a malevolent fairy that follows a family and causes things to disappear, milk to sour, and dogs to go lame etc. Boggarts a quite common in folklore in the North of England and, legend has it, that before Burnley’s Turf Moor ground was built, the Bee Hole Boggart kidnapped and murdered people. The skin of one victim – an old woman - was found in a rose bush. Maybe he was the world’s first football hooligan.  

You may well ask which team Looking For Ghosts support. Well, isn’t it obvious? The Ghosts of course! Formed in 1884, Fakenham Town play in the Eastern Counties League and are nicknamed The Ghosts. However, we’re unsure of why they have gained this moniker. Anyone out there that can shed some light on the subject, please let us know.

Needless to say, this lack of genuine paranormal evidence was getting us down. So Looking For Ghosts retreated to a place where ghouls and ghosts are plentiful… the local film rental shop!

We rented out some old favourites and delved into our film collection for a night or three of unparalleled horror. As we watched film after film of wooden acting, hilarious make-up and stupefying plot twists, it became clear to us that the best horror films are the ones that remain scary, even after numerous watches.

This can be said of The Blair Witch Project. Its realism scared the living daylights out of us as under-age patrons in the cinema and, eleven years later, its effect still remains. Also, did anyone know it’s based on a true story…

Blair Witch Project: quite bloody scary

More recently, we’ve enjoyed REC, The Orphanage and Paranormal Activity. In addition to this we also cowered from The Ring and The Tale of Two Sisters, both efforts from Eastern cinema.

However, some of our favourites paranormal movies come from an era where special effects were not available. This, in fact, works in some films’ favour, giving them a believable quality. The Innocents and Whistle and I’ll Come To You fall into this category.

Here are Looking For Ghosts current top ten paranormal films:

2.4 Children: a fun-loving comedy for all the family

1. The Blair Witch Project

2. The Exorcist

3. Ringu ( リング)

4. REC

5. The Shining

6. Paranormal Activity

7. A Tale of Two Sisters (장화, 홍련)

8. The Orphanage

9. Whistle and I’ll Come To You

10. The Innocents

So there it is; our top ten. Just missing the cut was Nutty Professor Two: the Klumps and also Three Men and a Baby, possible one of the only movies ever to capture a ghost on film. No, not the ghost of Ted Danson’s career… look a little closer.

Nevertheless, we are far from horror film aficionados. We would like to hear from you what your favourite spooky films are. Be it old or new, a box office hit or an undiscovered gem. Please leave your comments.

Most people may know that the UK faces a crucial vote next week in the general election. However, what a lot of you may not know, is that there is an even more crucial vote that is taking place right now.

Yes, that’s right, the Looking For Ghosts Grand Ghost Poll, is a mere click away. Scroll down to find the most intense and rigorous paranormal poll that humankind has seen.

We intend to enter the results from the poll into a big computer to aid our long-suffering, and so far futile, search for ghouls.

Please vote. It’s below on the left. Ta.

If Looking For Ghosts has learned one thing from the whole ZOZO debacle it’s that the internet is awash with stupidity. For the most part,  paranormal websites and forums tend to be frequented by people who are only a whisper away from being sectioned.  These people, convinced they’ve seen a ghost, simply cannot wait to publish their scarcely believable accounts on the internet, often in near incomprehensible prose and with an enthusiasm which borders on manic.

The Looking For Ghosts Christmas party was always a hoot...

It’s easy to sneer at other people’s efforts, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that it’s also a lot of fun too. So for your own amusement we have decided to link to our favourite worst stories here. Click on the story title to be transported to a land where logic, rational thought and basic grammar do not apply. Reader beware; the unquantifiable, half-baked theories and reactionary opinions within these accounts may cause you to have an aneurysm.

 

A visitor from France: This guy is being haunted by what we can only assume is some kind of electrical appliance. Observe how he describes, in unrelenting detail, the alterations in octave and pitch of the noise he heard with all the charisma of a record producer tirelessly describing the complexities of how he mixed Coldplay’s album. Comically boring.

 Oh my, what the ….???!!!!??!: Never has a title so succinctly summed up the reader’s reaction. If you can work out what is happening here, then we’ll send you one of our famous Looking For Ghosts goody bags, consisting of a marmite sandwich and a Travelcard (zones 1-3 only). Frankly, we don’t have a clue.

A Visitor From England: This one is strangely brilliant. Be warned, there are no full stops so you’ll need to take a deep breath before attempting to read it.  At first this story seems to consist of someone seeing a cat (not very scary), until the end when it takes a sinister, and frankly implausible, turn. Enjoy her pensive conclusion, as well.

There is a Ghost in my Room: Some nice butt-touching in this one. Perhaps the ghost of a serial pervert? Also, note how she clarifies that posters can’t talk. Thanks for that.

My Two Homes in England: As well as having an excellent opening line, this story features something far scarier than any ghost: Enya. A lot of the incidents in this story seem to draw from memories the author had when they were under the age of three, so perhaps take it with a large pinch (or an industrial-sized shovel) of salt.  

The Shuffling Slippers: This story is unique in that it’s actually written by somebody with a faint grasp of the English language. In fact he obviously fancies himself as a bit of a wordsmith. This turns out to be his downfall, as he tries to be too clever and ends up looking a berk: “I frowned puzzledly ” is one such example. Still the best title of a ghost story we’ve ever seen.

Bedsit: Featuring glamorous Guildford, this story is actually strangely chilling. Two girls move in together (saucy) and soon all manner of paranormal hell breaks loose. Sort of. To be fair the clues where there when they first viewed the place, what with all the crucifixes lying around and such. 

But don’t let our sneering pomposity stop you from posting your own ghost stories on this blog. We could always do with a laugh.

Now, there’s nothing we like better here at Looking For Ghosts than some spine-chilling ghost stories. Especially, if they claim to be true. So, imagine our unbound glee when we espied True Ghost Stories by George Finch in the library.

We were especially cock-a-hoop because of the book’s spooky front cover (below). A black cat with red eyes and some sort of phantasmal miasma surrounding it. Brilliant!

George Finch. Shakespeare he is not.

Now, we don’t profess to have read every ghost story compendium in the world BUT… this has to rank as one of the scariest ever. The monotonous prose, lack of coherent punctuation and absence of any bloody ghosts scared the living daylights out of us.

George Finch’s bid for Booker Prize is not helped by the fact that he’s a gibbering goon with an ever so slight grip on reality. The gist of these true stories is that George’s dead mother is following him around in spirit guise causing all sorts of mundane occurences.

Pigeon noises, erratic household appliances, spilt milk and funny noises. These are just some of the terror-inducing issues that George tackles in his brief, yet boring, accounts.

Wind-up merchant

The book is full of astute observations such as: “We all know when you buy a wind-up clock, you wind it up and leave it to do its job; tell the time.”

Yep, that’s the harrowing tale of when George bought a clock that didn’t work and blamed his dead mother for cursing his failing luck in telling the time.

We all have days when things go wrong, but mine was forever going on, like when I was transferring milk from a cardboard box from the Co-op into a bottle; I made sure everything was as it should be. I cleaned the place ready, and a nice clean bottle, then I opened the carton – somehow the milk was on the floor. How it happened, I just do not know.”

He transferring milk from a cardboard carton into a bottle? And the milk went on the floor? Eh? Didn’t he just drop the milk? And why does he need to clean everything beforehand? Does he have history of dropping milk cartons and blaming ghosts? Most confusing.

Milk, a poltergeist's best friend

This goes on. And on. And on. With vacuum cleaners, radios, electric blankets, more milk. The Co-op does feature quite a bit, as do exotic locations such as Rotherham, Croydon and Bournemouth.

In its defence, the book is quaintly old-fashioned and charmingly English – “Flipping income tax!”.

But some of the chapters are nigh on unreadable. Confusing stories, peppered with phantom commas which appear in the middle of nowhere and are absent from where they’re supposed to be.

Great entertainment

However, it is great entertainment reading the stories. Not because they’re ghost stories but because they’re just so rubbish.

In conclusion, if you want to read a book by some clumsy oaf who thinks his spirit mother is the root of all his mishaps, then this book is perfect for you. Actually, the joke’s on us; George got a book published and we’re doing this blog for free.

We’ll let George have the final nonsensical word:

There’s one thing good about ghosts. If there are ghosts, then it proves for once and for always, that nobody dies. We either get buried in a grave, or lots of people get cremated – burnt. That’s what happens when you get cremated; only ashes are left of the body, that was once a body.

If we were all to die, there would be no ghosts, but we do not, our souls live on as spirits in spirit“.

In addition to walking around London in search of ghouls, the Looking For Ghosts team also spend an unhealthy amount of time trawling cyberspace in order to sustain our thirst for paranormal phenomena.

Most of what we find is forgettable; normally well-intentioned but highly improbable. However, every so often we come across something that is so stupefying that it defies logic.

One such example is the brilliantly irresponsible ZOZO The Ouija Spirit, which claims that an evil entity called ZOZO seemingly has nothing better to do than appear in Ouija boards across the world (although mainly America, naturally) scaring the bejesus out of impressionable simpletons. All highly plausible, you’ll agree.

Ouija users have a chat with ZOZO

Its Creator is Darren Evans, a self-appointed “Zozologist”. Zozology is, presumably, something you study at the University of Make Believe, alongside other credible courses such as Fairy Psychology and Goblin Hunting.

Whilst we don’t set out to dismiss something we have no desire to understand, or to discredit other paranormal enthusiasts, this guy really is a lunatic of epic proportions.

Tedious and Baffling

The exact details of Darren’s story are too tedious and baffling to bore you with here, so you’ll have to visit the blog yourself (via the link above) to read his paranoid ramblings in full.

Please don’t read all of it; it’s so long and convoluted that you’ll probably emerge three days later, blinking wearily and scratching your head, confused and angry at a world which you simply no longer understand.

The jist of it is that ZOZO has been following Darren around for several years as he’s continued to use Ouija boards, wreaking havoc upon not just his life but that of his friends and family. The idea of simply not using Ouija boards had, apparently, not occurred to him until recently despite the fact that his sole purpose for setting up this blog is to warn other people to stay well away from them. This point we do agree on; Ouija boards are a bad idea, mainly because they are boring and a waste of everyone’s time.

Jennifer Lopez. ZOZO not pictured.

Idiocy

Alarmingly, other Ouija users (or “Morons” to give them their correct name) have written in their droves to report that they too have experienced a malevolent spirit bearing the same name. Such is the level of idiocy on display, if you’re not rooting for ZOZO within 30 seconds of clicking on the link then you’ve already shown a level of tolerance far greater than this blog deserves.

If nothing else, it is worth a look just for the bit where it is (hilariously) eluded that J-Lo is somehow involved as his twisted conspiracy spirals further and further away from reality.

Mr Evans has announced that he is planning on writing a book about his dealings with the demon, although one suspects that a far better use of paper would be to stuff it into his own mouth to prevent any more of this utter fiction spreading much further.

Catharine Arnold’s grimly fantastic book Necropolis: London and it Dead states that London is “above, a city thriving with life. Beneath, a city filled with the dead”.

Which is lucky, as the Looking For Ghosts crew – all two of us – happen to live in this very Necropolis. Spooks aplenty surely?

The coming posts will explore London’s most haunted buildings and areas. And, hopefully, we will be able to strecth our budget to reach further into the UK’s haunted regions.

Before we began our spooky search for the existence of ghosts, we referenced another book to find out what equipment we might need to help us catch sight of our intended targets.

How to be a Ghost Hunter by Richard Southall claims that a good ghost-hunting kit should include:

Cameras

Tape Recorder

Microwave Radiation or Electromagnetic Detectors – oh yeah just happened to have them in my bedroom

Pad of Paper and Pen

Compass

Watch or Stopwatch

Laptop Computer - Mr Southall obviously wants us to be prime mugging targets

Flour - to bake a cake for any hungry ghosts?

Thread - for extra jumpers in case of inclement weather?

We studied this list and decided that our eyeballs and and a couple of cameras are the most useful tools at our disposal. Don’t expect any terrifying photgraphs of ectoplasm-dripping phantoms but we’ll try. Oh, and if we get bored we might chuck a bag of flour at a ghoul or two.

Just so we know what we’re searching for, here’s the official definition of the word ghost. Gratefully pilfered from an online dictionary.

ghost (gōst)

noun

  1. The spirit or soul: now only in give up the ghost (to die) and in Holy Ghost
  2. Folklore a dead person’s disembodied spirit, esp. when thought of as appearing to the living as a pale, shadowy apparition
  3. A haunting memory
    1. A faint, shadowy semblance; inkling
    2. A slight trace not a ghost of a chance

Etymology: altered (prob. after Fl gheest) < ME goste < OE gast, soul, spirit, demon, akin to Ger geist < IE base *gheizd-, to be excited, frightened > Sans hēḋ-, to be angry

Got that? Let’s go a-searching then…

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