Do you believe in ghosts?
Housing officers at Sheffield Council certainly do.
New research released for Halloween shows the city is the country’s capital when it comes to spooky sightings, haunted homes and general ghostly goings-on.
Over the last ten years officials have logged 47 separate reports of paranormal activity in council homes – far more than any other authority in England.
Investigations carried out by Inside Housing magazine quizzed every local council and the 100 largest housing associations to find out how many reports of ghosts they’d received from tenants in the last decade.
Most had logged just one or two – except Sheffield.
Nick Duxbury, who has compiled the report, said the city appeared to be a paranormal hotspot.
“We found that councils and housing associations do take complaints about ghosts very seriously, arranging exorcisms, moving people up housing waiting lists, and even rehousing existing tenants,” he said.
Nick has obtained a detailed account of one of the investigations carried out by a housing officer in Sheffield in 2008.
A mother of two living in a private one-bedroom flat had asked to move to a council house due to overcrowding – but it soon emerged there were more sinister reasons behind the request.
The tenant told the housing officer the family had been woken in the night ‘by someone strangling them’, and that something had pulled her hair and lifted her off the bed.
The woman also said she’d heard voices and banging, seen ghosts of children and an old man with a beard.
The family had been so scared they had decided they had to move out into a hotel.
Nick said: “The officer’s report states that while discussing the family’s options she experienced ‘a tapping sensation on her shoulder’ and heard voices and whisperings coming from the lounge.
“She also heard loud banging and the room was icy cold. The officer then saw a thick rope hanging in mid-air in to the doorway to the living room which then dropped to the floor.
“She asked to go into the kitchen as she was too frightened to continue with the visit – but there she could still hear the whispering and banging and said there was ‘a horrible feeling of foreboding’.
“The officer left and the family packed their bags and followed soon after – and later the tenant was awarded a council house.”
The city council told Nick it was unable to estimate how much it had spent investigating all the cases brought to their attention.